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Rail renationalisation- do you support it?

Do you think the railways should be renationalised?


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Harbornite

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This is another topic that has been cropping up recently on the forums, as Corbyn et al seem to support this. Also, I am aware that Network rail is publicy owned but that's not the point.

I have a feeling that a poll was done for this topic a while back, but people's views could have changed since and the forum had less membes back then. Therefore, I think it's worth asking this question again.

Once you've answered, you should try to justify your vote.
 
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YorkshireBear

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I think it would cost a lot of money to bring it all in house. I also don't think a complete upheaval of the industry is what is needed right now. We are struggling with enhancements and I am not sure nationalisation would help that at all. I actually think Network Rail being a government body is one of the problems we are now having with enhancement projects. Network Rail are struggling to keep good staff as we cannot compete with the contractors on pay!
 

Flamingo

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No - it's better the devil you know rather than the devil you don't, and from the point of view of a lowly member of staff who worked in the Public Sector for many years, I feel I get a much better deal in all sorts of ways out of a private company than I would ever get being at the mercy of the DfT.

Public sector workers are at the mercy of the political ideology of whatever party is in power, the notions of whatever Civil Servant has had a bright idea, and the budgetary constraints brought about by the spending and pressures of entirely unrelated areas. I don't fancy going back to being told no pay rise for me this year because a war somewhere else has to be funded, or it will take money away from "front-line services", or a notional balancing of a notional defecit run up by another industry.
 

jon0844

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It will be interesting to see the results here, but I wonder if there could have been two options for each answer, allowing a way to record if someone is working IN the industry or outside (a rail user).

I suspect rail users may well want nationalisation more than those working in the industry!
 

notlob.divad

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Don't know.

I like the idea of it, I like the idea that subsidies / profits stay within the public sector rather than going to share holders, however, I see the problem with the practicalities of doing so at the minute. The way Directly Operated Railways dug the east coast out of a whole worked on the whole. I think more use of that as a way of sorting out problem franchises should be used and I think it should be considered if it is suitable for them to bid for a franchise in direct competition, I appreciate there may be some legality issues as both the Franchisee and the Franchiser would be the Department of Transport. However if it could be overcome I think it could add something to the whole franchising process.

I do feel there are a lot of potentially unnecessary fingers in the pie and escalated costs, with private operating companies leasing trains owned by ROSCOS all propped up by DfT funding. However the problem is the country is currently so indebted that taking on anymore for the sake of rail nationalization doesn't make a great deal of sense.

So I am totally torn on the argument, but I do feel the current system is not working as well as it should for the Taxpayers who may or may not also be customers/passengers/employees of the various companies.
 

AngusH

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In general I don't support it. Governments tend to get influenced by short term political issues and the people making decisions arrive and leave posts too quickly.


However if someone looked at the current system would they believe that the railways were nationalised or private?

Given the assets owned or strongly controlled by the government, could we actually already have a nationalised railway, with significant private sector involvement?

As opposed to a private sector railway with significant public involvement?


I think the answer is probably that we have a private sector system, but I'm not sure the answer is certain.
 

Harbornite

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Private ownership tends to encourage more innovation and there has not been a shortage of investment since Britain's railways were privatised in the '90s. In my opinion, I wouodn't mind too much if the railways were state owned (like the German system), but I think they are better off in private hands for the reasons stated.
 

AlterEgo

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Nationalisation in what sort of format?

"Would you like to buy a house?"

"Maybe - can I have a look at it first?"

"No."

Brexiteer syndrome.
 

Harbornite

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Nationalisation in what sort of format?

"Would you like to buy a house?"

"Maybe - can I have a look at it first?"

"No."

Brexiteer syndrome.

There are a number of formats, you could have the German system whereby DB is run like a private one but all shares are held by the Federal government (obviously the UK doesn't have this kind of government). Regional train services could either be subsidized and operated by a centralised organisation or the local governments. Not that I necessarily want this for the UK.
 

highdyke

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I prefer a private railway run by professional railwaymen. Railways have long been a toy of politicians/enthusiasts/workers/pressure groups etc

Railways need some public subsidy as many lines are not remunerative and there is a social benefit, but the railways must show they are innovative, responsible, can manage projects (which they more often than not than do).

Monopolies are a bad thing for customers, staff, suppliers etc Competition is not the be all and end all either, which is why getting the right structure is extremely hard. I still don't think it's quite right and there is too much government control, often because they still don't really trust the railways. The railways must work harder to change that and build trust with users and policy makers.

I believe that the nationalisation debate is mainly generated through the occasional high profile failure which are magnified far too much by the media, the left wing and even parts of the railway press - "Modern Railways" (mainly run by ex BR staff of pensionable age, and certainly isn't a journal that can be compares well to magazines that would attract younger readers in the tech sector) being especially guilty. Privatisation generally is a success story.
 
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GrimsbyPacer

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Yes they should bd renationalised. The privatised system has increased fares and is often run by foreign national operators, if nationalisation can't work why are they so successful?

Many of the new trains are either very long overdue or funded by the government anyway. The TOCs are acting nasty to passengers and staff often, there's noco-ordination and some TOC operated stations. The system varies greatly by company, it's not fair.

If it's national it's the government who's accountable for good or bad service changes. Rather than a whole range of expensive organisations doing nout but paperwork.

I dream of days of riding an Intercity or Regional Railways train again rather than a train in a candy wrapper of the franchisee of the day.
 

coppercapped

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There are a number of formats, you could have the German system whereby DB is run like a private one but all shares are held by the Federal government (obviously the UK doesn't have this kind of government). Regional train services could either be subsidized and operated by a centralised organisation or the local governments. Not that I necessarily want this for the UK.

Be very careful about praising the German structure. The system is not working well at the moment and there is considerable pressure for a change. However many proposals do not look as if they would be effective but would have the effect of reverting it to a Civil Service run railway that it was until the Bahn Reform. They are a reflection of the renationalisation calls made here.

In broad figures, DB AG's turnover is around €40 billion, of which some 40% is DB-Schenker and only 9% is long distance passenger traffic (ICs, ICEs and the like). Timekeeping is bad and although much is being spent on prestige projects such as Stuttgart 21 which has only regional importance nothing is being spent to reduce intercity journey times generally. The Stuttgart - Ulm Neubaustrecke is a help, but traffic flows between the Rhein-Ruhr areas and Berlin have stagnated for years and these are the most populous areas.
 

jon0844

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Yes they should bd renationalised. The privatised system has increased fares and is often run by foreign national operators, if nationalisation can't work why are they so successful?

Many of the new trains are either very long overdue or funded by the government anyway. The TOCs are acting nasty to passengers and staff often, there's noco-ordination and some TOC operated stations. The system varies greatly by company, it's not fair.

If it's national it's the government who's accountable for good or bad service changes. Rather than a whole range of expensive organisations doing nout but paperwork.

I dream of days of riding an Intercity or Regional Railways train again rather than a train in a candy wrapper of the franchisee of the day.

Surely a foreign operator may take the profits, but it's still UK people being employed? Does it really make much difference? The foreign firm may still have a UK base anyway.

Will everyone be ditching any computer hardware that has an ARM chip inside it now the Cambridge-based firm is selling to the Japanese?

Plus didn't fares increase more percentage wise before privatisation than since?
 

Harbornite

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Be very careful about praising the German structure. The system is not working well at the moment and there is considerable pressure for a change. However many proposals do not look as if they would be effective but would have the effect of reverting it to a Civil Service run railway that it was until the Bahn Reform. They are a reflection of the renationalisation calls made here.

In broad figures, DB AG's turnover is around €40 billion, of which some 40% is DB-Schenker and only 9% is long distance passenger traffic (ICs, ICEs and the like). Timekeeping is bad and although much is being spent on prestige projects such as Stuttgart 21 which has only regional importance nothing is being spent to reduce intercity journey times generally. The Stuttgart - Ulm Neubaustrecke is a help, but traffic flows between the Rhein-Ruhr areas and Berlin have stagnated for years and these are the most populous areas.

Ah right, i wasn't defending the system, merely stating a possible form of nationalisation that could be adopted. I have heard that DB is not doing too good for money due to the decline in freight traffic, they have reverted to using Class 143 locomotives on some freights to save costs and are considering selling off Arriva.

--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
As it stands, there are 12 votes in favour of nationalisation, but I don't see many comments justifying this and stating what kind of system is wanted.
 
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Senex

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Yes they should bd renationalised. ... if nationalisation can't work why are they so successful?

No, they shouldn't, if what's envisaged is a return to the old British way of doing nationalisation, with maximum interference from civil servants and politicians, no long-term financial planning, etc -- and probably a retired general or civil servant to chair the board. Remember how long it took until a Robert Reed came along to try to get a structure that would work for BR.

If, on the other hand, you're thinking of nationalisation as practised by some of our mainland neighbours, then fine. But those Europeans have nothing to teach the British, do they?
 

theblackwatch

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No - it's better the devil you know rather than the devil you don't, and from the point of view of a lowly member of staff who worked in the Public Sector for many years, I feel I get a much better deal in all sorts of ways out of a private company than I would ever get being at the mercy of the DfT.

Public sector workers are at the mercy of the political ideology of whatever party is in power, the notions of whatever Civil Servant has had a bright idea, and the budgetary constraints brought about by the spending and pressures of entirely unrelated areas. I don't fancy going back to being told no pay rise for me this year because a war somewhere else has to be funded, or it will take money away from "front-line services", or a notional balancing of a notional defecit run up by another industry.

I agree with you - railway workers will be subject to much stricter pay rises, worsening of terms and conditions (eg pay more into your pension but you will have to wait longer for it) etc, just like the rest of the Civil Service. For this reason, I find it somewhat strange that the railway unions seem to be in favour of re-nationalisation.
 

Harbornite

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I agree with you - railway workers will be subject to much stricter pay rises, worsening of terms and conditions (eg pay more into your pension but you will have to wait longer for it) etc, just like the rest of the Civil Service. For this reason, I find it somewhat strange that the railway unions seem to be in favour of re-nationalisation.

They are too busy daydreaming about a socialist utopia, even if that's at the expense of the railway workforce's pay.
 

AlterEgo

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I agree with you - railway workers will be subject to much stricter pay rises, worsening of terms and conditions (eg pay more into your pension but you will have to wait longer for it) etc, just like the rest of the Civil Service. For this reason, I find it somewhat strange that the railway unions seem to be in favour of re-nationalisation.

It's because they're led by dogmatic socialists, rather than modern pragmatists.

The fact that there are over 20 TOCs means that when the RMT negotiates with any one of them it has much more power to wield than if it was negotiating with a monolithic, all-national, BR-type agency.
 

highdyke

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In the last days of BR in the 1990s, the pay rates were £120pw (£225pw or 11.7k) for a guard or clerk, £120pw - 200pw (£225pw - £373pw or 11.7k - 19.4k) for a signaller, £180 (£336pw or 17.5k) for a driver, sub £100 (£186 or 9.6k) for platform staff. Various enhancements like walking time, DOO rates, night rates and mileage.

The pay rates are all on old editions of Railnews. In the 1970s pay rates for virtually every government employee, and a few more besides used to appear on the TV news, anyone remember that?

My Grandad, a driver for BR, couldn't afford a car, rode a bike, lived in a small terraced house and his annual holiday was at reduced rates on the BR staff holiday scheme. My Gran used to make all their clothes, while he spent his life down the BRASA playing dominos and drinking cheap beer. When he left in the mid 1980s he was given a small clock, after starting on the LNER in the 1940s, sheltering from bombs falling down in marshalling yards. The poor sod got double vision followed by alzheimer's and never really enjoyed his pension. Now drivers are in the top 10% of salaries in the country, that's the difference privatisation has made.

Are the unions prepared to take on the inflation adjusted equivalent (in brackets figure) of the old BR once nationalised? They've done very well out of competition for their labour.
 
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me123

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I don't support renationalisation of the railways. Certainly there are a lot of flaws in the current system, and I think we should be redesigning the way TOC contracts work. But I don't think renationalising the system will solve any problems. I don't think fares will fall, and I don't think the standard of service will improve. I would be concerned that a nationalised railway would be abused by politicians in the same way as the NHS - subject to constant political pressure, changes enforced from above and at the whim of the transport minister for political purposes, targets for things like delays becoming a bureaucratic nightmare...

I think the system can be improved, but I don't think that nationalising the railways will deliver those improvements.
 

Harbornite

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I thought the nationalisation brigade would be able to justify their choice. There doesn't seem to be much in the way of justification!
 

Clip

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May I mention...

Directly Operated Railways

:D

You can.

You could mention more about them and tell us whether theres any Directly employed persons still at Directly operated railways too.
 

Mordac

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I've very rarely seen any attempt a spelling out what problem proponents of nationalization think it would solve, other than arguments about profiteering which could be used to argue for the nationalization of everything--which no doubt is what some of them want, but surely not the majority of those who support it?
 

highdyke

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I thought the nationalisation brigade would be able to justify their choice. There doesn't seem to be much in the way of justification!

Socialists are under the misapprehension the state cares for them. Funny that, whenever I deal with any government department, I get the opposite impression. Mostly, not always, when I deal with a private company they are keen to get my business as there are other firms out there that will take that business if they aren't any good.

The railways can actually be an exception to that. I was once double charged a fare because I lost a return ticket, despite having the receipt. Got charged a full fare because I'd split tickets and the first train was late because of them! Perhaps that's the problem?
 

notlob.divad

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Mostly, not always, when I deal with a private company they are keen to get my business as there are other firms out there that will take that business if they aren't any good.

The railways can actually be an exception to that. Perhaps that's the problem?

I think you have hit the nail on the head there. I was trying to work out how to phrase it. With the way railways are franchised, if you get bad service or you don't think what you are paying for is value for money, you often cannot go to a different firm as the one you have is the one you are stuck with at least until the franchise is up. If you want/need to travel by rail, you have no real control over who gets your custom.
 

DarloRich

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Do I support re nationalistion - not sure

Do I support structural changes to how rail services are delivered - yes.
 
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