Latest Rail News


20 years of privatisation slammed by RMT

The RMT union is “stepping up the case for renationalisation”, 20 years after legislation was introduced that led to the privatisation of the railway.

The average ticket price has increased by 22% in real terms since 1995, with the highest commuter fares in Europe, the RMT argues 

ATOC, however, disputes the way critics calculate average rail fare rises over the years – in a letter to the Financial Times this week disputing a suggestion that fares have risen 40% in a decade, Michael Roberts said: “Rather than taking an average of all the prices that were advertised, looking at tickets people actually purchased reveals that between 2001-02 and 2011-12, the average price paid by passengers for a single journey expressed at 2011-12 prices fell by 1.9%, hovering round £5 through that period. That is down to train companies working to attract passengers by offering a range of good value fares, including cheap advance tickets and Railcard deals.” 

The RMT criticised the ticketing system is too complex, with 35% of train users reportedly not understanding it. Other poor performance blamed on privatisation includes a lower proportion of electrified lines and high speed rail compared to other countries in Europe, and the cost of the railway increasing significantly.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “20 years after John Major’s Tory Government embarked on the rail privatisation nightmare, the case for public ownership is overwhelming and it is no surprise that 70% of the British people now support RMT’s call for full renationalisation. It is time for the political class, including the Labour Party, to wake up to some hard truths. 

“From the fares rip-off, to the Railtrack disaster and to the £1.2bn bled out of the system every year by the spivs and speculators there is nowhere to hide for the politicians and train operators who have turned Britain’s railways into a state-sponsored racket. 

“The West Coast Mainline fiasco reinforced what the vast majority of people know; that this privatisation disaster is beyond reform and the return of the railways to public ownership, run as a public service, is the only solution.” 

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]


Stuart Moore   18/01/2013 at 14:03

I couldn’t agree more with Bob Crow The railways should never have been sold off in the first place BR used to cost the tax payer £2bn pa The privatised railway cost the tax payer £6bn. In effect the tax payer was Subsidising private company’s. Privatisation was Ideology over common sense An act of national vandalism by a desperate government in the final throws of power. The worst part is that arsehole Portillo wondering around making railway friendly tv programs, when he was part of the government that flogged BR off. Tories have always hated the railways. Considering that it was a Tory transport minister Ernest Marples that instigated the Beeching cuts in favour of motorways while he was on the board of directors of the company that was awarded the government contract to build the motorways, shows that there is a long history of hate and prejudice by the Tory party against the nations railway network

Jak Jay   18/01/2013 at 18:51

Yes Bob,but where were you when '92 ? did you condem it then?

Add your comment


Rail industry Focus

View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >