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Published: November 2001      

Model railway goes for a refit

With Railtrack put into administration, the British rail privatisation model has collapsed, amid a welter of mutual recrimination and bitter in-fighting. So where does the industry go from here?

British Railways (BR) was privatised in haste and the British public has repented at leisure ever since. We are still too close to last month's events to analyse them properly but, even with the smoke of battle still thick on the ground, it is clear that the structure of the industry was fatally flawed.

Despite the various conspiracy theories, it is surely obvious that a supposedly privatised industry should not have been costing so much more to prop up than the former BR - upwards of 2.5 bill per year compared to 1.2 bill.

No proper audit of the assets was carried out at the time of privatisation so shareholders bought a "pig in a poke" in any case. The network condition report - deemed crucial if City investors are to help refinance Railtrack's successor - will not be ready for another two years, so it is not possible to determine its likely future operating expenses....


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Approx 800 words from WorldCargo News, November 2001, page 36.

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