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Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by 87015, 11 Jan 2017.
Some very well considered observations. I very much agree.
The UK footprint of Arriva plc (local jobs, tax revenue etc) is an order of magnitude bigger than the likes of Abellio, Keolis, Trenitalia, MTR etc.
They also run their European operations (Poland, Italy etc) from Sunderland.
Berlin, like any owner, just wants the return on its investment.
What Trenitalia is after is not the C2C franchise itself but the National Express management and bidding teams to use for future bids.
Yeah I get that but a lot of the profit heads back to a company owned by the German state. How many British state owned companies are running services abroad. I guess it is about none.
There is no guarantee a British-owned business will plough profits back into the company as investment.
I think I should clarify, the way we privatised has let foreign state owned businesses run our railways, at least some of the money is going to fund foreign states almost directly. Our state is subsidising it. It is insane. Trenitalia is 100% Italian government owned. We are effectively giving the Italian Government money to run our trains because our Government can't.
LOL They've been sold right up the river without a paddle there then!!!
They are mostly privatised.
So the UK equivalent is Stagecoach and National Express (still) with operations and subsidiaries abroad.
There's nothing to stop TfL bidding overseas (like RATP and MTR do here), but I guess the Mayor doesn't see any benefit for London.
Nobody else is big enough really.
Yeah but Stagecoach and National Express are not state owned companies. TfL is a local government body, not a state owned company. I'm not sure they can bid overseas.
Look if I have got any of this wrong please feel free to correct me. I am happy to be corrected.
It's unfortunate Corbyn and McDonnell keep going on about creating a national investment bank but haven't pointed out that the lack of one is why our rail operations are owned by state owned companies in France, Holland, Germany, Canada and now Italy while the UK doesn't have any investments abroad returning profits to the state.
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If you mean Stagecoach have coach operations in the US and Canada then don't forget First Group have even bigger operations in North America with owning Greyhound, First Student and First Transit.
You could even argue that they aren't really that British. They are listed companies so anyone in the world can buy the shares and most shares in major companies are owned by institutions, which again have shareholders all over the world. They may have a head office in the UK and are listed on the London Stock Exchange but that is as far as their Britishness goes.
Wasn't the national investment bank a coalition government proposal - quietly dropped because it was thought that it would fall foul of EU state aid rules.
(rhetorical question - it was.)
I would think that many people would RATHER forget Silverlink especially the Metro area of said company. This was the one NEG company where NEG did little to nothing with apart from a garish livery, became known as the Cinderella line and not because it was a beautiful thing either.
Whatever happened to the "Lilley doctrine"?
Not can't but won't!
I don't have much positive to say about central trains either.
Interesting, the current overseas brand of FS is Netinera, much as DB has Arriva, NS has Abellio, and SNCF has Kelios. Wonder if we'll be seeing it here.
What is your answer to this since we have increasing numbers of state owned railway operators running our trains from foreign countries. I mean this out of interest, not in an antagonistic way.
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True, what do you think is the answer. Again I don't mean this in an antagonistic way, just what do you reckon, I don't have a clue any more.
As I pointed out earlier, there is a EU " Fourth Rail Package " which is designed to open up all Euro rail markets to private operators. The UK just so happens to be way ahead in that respect. Also, there is nothing to stop either ASLEF or RMT bidding for one in their own right.....which might not be an altogether bad idea on the face of it.
I seriously don't get your point. I am saying that companies entirely owned by foreign governments are making a profit off our government subsidies because of the way we privatised our railways and your response is that ASLEF or the RMT could also bid? How the hell is the UK way ahead in taking government subsidy from other countries to run their trains for the profit of the government and the country? Are any UK government owned companies running railway services in foreign countries?
I don't know how much more simply I can put this, if Stagecoach or National Express make a profit abroad it goes to their shareholders who are whoever. If Trenitalia or Deutsche Bahn make a profit it goes to their shareholders the majority of whom are the German and Italian government.
It's probably A Good Thing if we have more bidders/ organisations operating UK TOCs (a wider pool, greater talent, more competition etc)...
...so Trenitalia coming to the UK is probably A Good Thing...
...and if you want to bid for a new franchise then it's probably a nice idea to run a stable/ straightforward/ consistent TOC for a year or two to "prove" that you are to be trusted - i.e. taking on C2C will hopefully allow them to show that they would be a safe pair of hands when bidding for other franchises (rather than the potential risk of a "new" operator).
There's two options:
We have a privatised railway, where organisations are free to bid to run franchises (meeting a certain quality/ standard) at the best cost to UK taxpayers
We have a nationalised railway
If we have a private railway (something I'm agnostic about) then I believe that we ought to allow as many reputable organisations to bid as possible, to ensure that we get the best value for the taxpayer/ the most innovation/ the best option for quality etc.
IF you want to argue for nationalised railway then I get that, there are some good argument for a nationalised railway (e.g. the BR that introduced lots of colourful liveries and ordered lots of new trains). There are also arguments against a nationalised railway (e.g. the BR that closed lines, introduced Pacers, got stuck in a cycle of cuts). You can pick and choose the bits you want to suit your argument.
But the "nationalisation" argument is separate to whether Trenitalia should be allowed to bid. If we are paying someone a million pounds to provide a franchise then does it matter whether that million pounds goes to a "bus" company/ Virgin/ Serco/ an experienced train operator owned by a foreign government?
Because, if you don't want foreign governments (with all of their experience in running trains) then who is acceptable? Hedge funds? Outsourcers like Serco? A bank like Macquarie? A Trades Union?
I get the "nationalisation" argument, sure. But I don't get why (if we are going to have a privatised railway) you'd want to limit the pool of organisations capable of bidding, why you'd rather have to pay a higher subsidy because you refuse to allow subsidies of DB/ SNCF/ Trenitalia (etc) to compete.
Because, under a privatised railway, someone is going to make a profit - and I don't honestly mind whether that profit goes to a subsidy of a foreign government or to a "bus" company (like Stagecoach) etc.
I'm not surprised to see another knee-jerk reaction from Mick Cash ("plundering passengers" etc etc), but I'd be interested if someone more intelligent than him could explain to me which kind of organisations should be allowed to bid for franchises (and why you'd rather pay higher subsidies due to a less competitive market).
There's a case for nationalisation - there's a case for privatisation. What I don't understand is this awkward halfway house compromise of "privatisation but only some organisations should be allowed to bid, and we don't want overseas train operators using their expertise in the UK".
I really think that I have not put myself across clearly enough. I don't have a problem with foreign companies operating our train services, state run or otherwise. What I have a problem with is our government telling us that the state are not the best people to operate train companies and it should be privatised for efficiency and then selling it off to state run companies from other countries. We are sending subsidies off to other European countries (Companies entirely owned by the government of those countries).
Look in the press, Italy is practically a basket case but a state owned company has got a franchise in the UK to operate trains. Where the hell is the UK government going wrong.
The state-owned railway operations that are bidding for UK franchises are not monolithic arms of their states any more.
The operators are commercial organisations, operating on a level EU playing field, and have to abide by the same accounting rules.
TOCs can be bought/sold/bid for competitively against tight government contracts, just like here.
So many overseas operations are up for grabs periodically (eg German regional services; some are won by state DB, others by Abellio, NX etc.).
There is also open access, even in statist France and Italy, and the EU is progressively trying to open up all markets (not without opposition from the statists).
Ownership is irrelevant, they are just businesses with shareholders (even if just the state).
Profits flow to the parent, whether public or private.
We don't have any competing public TOCs because they are all privatised, and so are the airlines and ferries.
Our private TOC owners are the UK equivalent. I missed out First Group in my original list, although overseas they concentrate in the US.
I get your point yet again but if there are state owned companies who see it worthwhile to operate trains in the UK to make money for the majority shareholder (Italy in this case) what the hell is going on in the UK?
Are there any UK government owned railway companies operating abroad getting subsidies to operate the services they do and if not why not?
Oh - I will never forget Silverlink Metro. I have never seen more grime coating on a window than on Silverlink 150s. I have also never had to go home after 4 half hourly trains were cancelled on me with no information at all (before realtimetrains or smartphones). I have also not since boarded a train to find 75% of seat cushions removed exposing the years of filth underneath. They were quite possibly the most disgusting operator I have ever used.
No one can seem to answer how foreign governments can run a railway company that operates in the UK getting a subsidy from our government (Which must make them a profit or they wouldn't do it, they aren't doing us a favour) and why our government can't do the same.
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Our TOC owners are not the same as Trenitalia or DB. Our TOC owners are not owned by the government so any money they make does not go to the government.
State Owned Network Rail operates a global consultancy business winning contracts from foreign states for the consultancy and construction of rail lines. They've been quite successful in winning business in the Middle East.
It also operates a successful commercial real estate business in the UK.
Arriva when it was British owned was winning contracts to operate rail services in Germany and France.
National Express formerly had stakes in HS1 and Eurostar operations on the continent and owns a couple of German rail franchises.
BAA before it was privatised had many contracts to manage US publically owned airports.
If you want to know why nationalised UK government firms dont bid for contracts abroad theres quite a long list of reasons.
1. Government wouldn't like to be seen risking UK state funds on foreign commercial ventures.
2. British public attitude that state enterprise is wrong and should be minimised where possible.
3. British government doesn't give similar enterprises and mid level bureaucrats the independence to make commercial decisions, they like everything to be tightly under a ministers thumb. (exception to this was the nuclear industry where state owned companies were encouraged to bid for foreign contracts to offset UK development costs). The directors of London Underground for example don't have the freedom to bid to operate foreign systems the way RATP does. This is further constrained as usually the legislation that sets up UK authorities and quangos limits their activities so they can only do what they are set up to do within those geographic bounds.
4. Attitude in UK that taxes should be low, if a government has spare money to invest in foreign ventures then taxes must be too high.
5. Insular attitude of not thinking about foreign opportunities
6. Language barrier
This makes me wonder if the RMT union considered such a matter at the time when they were one of the very few trades unions who were in favour of the Leave campaign during the time of the referendum.
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I was thinking of a historical reverse situation and if this website had been running a few centuries back in time, would we have seen numerous postings of angst at the way that the East India Company ran their operations?
Theoretically yes, in practice not really, as they don't control infrastructure, haven't been able to go very far without infringing rules on revenue abstraction etc on one side or getting involved in costly battles with unions on the other,
What is your problem with the ultimate owner being a government rather than a privately owned company?
Do you have a problem with the UK Government making a profit from, say, Royal Mail? How is that any different?