Network rail the company that currently maintains the rail network in the UK is to lose its rights to control the UK’s railways tracks.
The British government is set to announce that the control of the tracks will be handed to operators, in a move seen as even further privatisation of the UK’s rail system, the current system is as a result of privatisation that finished in 1997 at the end of the last block of conservative rule in the country.
Chris Grayling the transport secretary has stated that he wants Network rail to share responsibility of the tracks with the private operators. It’s hoped by the government that this will ease maintenance woes as companies become responsible for their own delays, it’s also hoped that this will end up in reducing fares, which have again been raised by an average of over 2pc. This is once again significantly above the rate of inflation, and it will refocus the argument back to renationalisation of the railways, as has been offered as a policy from increasingly invisible Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
This has been a long standing issue for Grayling, who as a transport spokesman had offered up the idea of moving responsibility to the operators 10 years ago. In his statements on the subject he seems to believe that it’s the gap between maintenance and operations that are the issues with the system. Though many will also believe that the operators may use the new system to actually increase fares as a way to pay for whatever upgrades they see fit.
Network rail took over the running took over the running of the network from private company Railtrack, which collapsed in 2001. Originally it was paid for from taxation as it received a large injection of seed funding from the public purse. What happens to the company now is anyone’s guess, but it certainly seems that its operations will be scaled back in the future. This will perhaps be the end for the company with the conservative government gradually try to reduce the size of the state. It is also trying to eliminate excess bloat, with the last parliament being extremely interested in transferring public institutions in to private hands. With the Royal mail being the biggest case. Though many will criticise the lack of gusto with regards to returning RBS & Lloyds back to private ownership, whilst excitedly extending the privatisation of the railways
Joseph is a 34 year old freelance writer from London. He has a wide interest in politics and specialises in the subject. He's also a blog writer in his spare time.