The conventional wisdom that railway privatisation failed passengers and taxpayers is challenged by a new study published by the Institute of Economic Affairs*.
The IEA study by a team of authors examined privatisation in the context of the history of government interference in the railways and proposals for new approaches to management and ownerships. It found that:
The number of passenger kilometres has grown rapidly since privatisation.
Train punctuality improved considerably after privatisation improvements only came to a halt as a result of government meddling after the Hatfield incident.
Safety improved faster after privatisation than before privatisation for all classes of accidents.
In 2003 the rate of broken rails per million train kilometres was the lowest for 40 years.
Capital spending increased by £4.6billion between 1990 and 2002, partly to make up for decade