Railways: Gravy trains

by / Tuesday, 29 September 2015 / Published in Economy

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Why Labour’s plans to renationalise the railways are so popular

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FEW topics get Britons as hot under the collar as the state of the country’s railways. When trains are delayed—at the slightest hint of snow, or when leaves fall on the track—passengers fire off furious letters and tweets. Pictures of commuters vaulting over ticket barriers or standing in overcrowded carriages fill the newspapers. According to polls by YouGov, more than half of Britons would like the government to take the railways back under state control. This makes Labour’s plan for a publicly run “People’s Railway”, affirmed at its conference this week, a popular policy as well as a radical one.
By some measures Britain’s railways are booming. Since the network was privatised in 1994, the number of train journeys taken each year has doubled (see chart). The growth in passenger-kilometres travelled has been among the fastest in the European Union. But the service has become far more expensive, with rail …
Source: The Economy