Just 19% think railways should be run by private companies

Nationalisation of the railways remains an overwhelmingly popular policy.

A new poll has confirmed that the majority of Brits think the railways should be re-nationalised.

The poll showed that 56% said railways should be run in the public sector while just 19% said they should be run by the private sector.

The UK’s railways were nationalised by the Labour government in 1948 and then privatised by John Major’s Tory government in 1993.

The new poll suggested that 43% of UK adults think this privatisation was a failure while just 23% think it has been a success.

One reason the public supports re-nationalisation is that they think it will make train tickets cheaper.

Around 45% said it would make fares cheaper against just 19% who said the opposite.

Another reason is that 51% of those polled said a nationalised railway would provide better value for money – 14% said it would be worse value for money.

Currently, the former chief executive of British Airways Keith Williams is conducting a review of the railways.

One option he is considering is public ownership while another is to allow more rail companies to run rail routes in direct competition with each other.

When asked which option they prefer, 50% of the public went for the former while 29% choose the latter.

Commenting on these findings, Ellen Lees, campaigns officer at public ownership campaign group We Own It said:

“Private rail companies have been lobbying hard for more private involvement and increased competition on our railways. This new poll shows just how out of touch the rail industry is.

“The public doesn’t want more competition, they want a railway they can trust, with cheaper fares that provide good value for money.”

“This is only possible if the railway is brought into public hands. After endless delays, cancellations and crowded trains, people are sick and tired of privatisation.”

“So it’s absolutely vital that with the Williams Rail Review coming to an end, Keith Williams makes the right call on the future of our railways.”

The Williams review will be published later this year.

Joe Lo is a reporter for Left Foot Forward

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3 Responses to “Just 19% think railways should be run by private companies”

  1. Tom Sacold

    Over 80% of the asset value of the railway system is already owned by the State through Network Rail.

    What author really means is taking control & ownership of the actual rail service to passengers.

  2. Patrick Newman

    Another statistic you have picked out of the ether, Tom!

  3. Patrick Newman

    We do not have to wait for each franchise to ‘mature’. Virgin East Coast just threw the towel in because the operation of the franchise did not pay. Other franchise holders could be subject to review and penalisation. Northern Rail, for example, could have the franchise removed now because of its poor performance. Others could be subject to terminal review (e.g. Govia – Thameslink. Failing that the franchise could continue under a nationalised railway structure or an appropriate level of compensation agreed bearing in mind that the rail operators constantly tell us what little profit they make!

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