Railpolitik: The Financial Realities of Operating Britain's National Railways
Posted: 12 Mar 2004
This article analyses the context and financial performance of Britain's national railways under private ownership in the first half of the 20th century and public ownership in the second half of the century, in order to understand the problems confronting the railways and the implications for privatization. The evidence shows that Railtrack's collapse was inevitable: it is impossible for the railway industry to generate the revenue to cover the full cost of the infrastructure and services, including the financial claims of the providers of capital, without jeopardizing network performance. Privatization could not resolve the external constraints and the consequent financial problems. The final section considers the implications of this analysis for the future of the industry.
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