Originally Posted by Requeststop
From BBC Cornwall
website. Cornwall Unitary Council warned off running the counties rail services.
Thankfully. Running a railway is not like playing with a trainset, it is way beyond the scope of a local authority. Even just 'setting times and prices' is something which needs to be done from a wider, network-conscious point of view, not from the local civic offices. Bristol's Severn Beach line is a case in point, financially propped up by the local council after much fierce lobbying by its own dedicated support group, but ultimately running a service which is not entirely justified at prices which are recklessly cheap, and totally unable to stand up as a profitable operation in it's current form. Bristol's ratepayers are effectively funding the small minority who live close to the line, which incidentally includes several very affluent areas. Meanwhile the other side of the city gets the raw deal and pays more for a lesser service.
As much as it is nice when locals can get together and look after their station or lobby for better service, the intricacies of running the operational railway will always be best left to the professionals. There is too often a lack of understanding of just what it involves and how complex even the paperwork side of things is, and an apparent mentality that if the locals can look after the station garden then surely they can run the whole railway as well, and sadly it just isn't that simple. Things are fragmented enough as it is, do we really want every different branch line up and down the country being run by a different council with their own way of doing things? Many TOCs have done a very good job listening to their local passenger groups and such like, and it's that approach which we need to keep taking, rather than trying to complicate and fragment things even further. What we need is integration, not local empire building.