Privatisation Improved the Railways - New IEA Report Claims

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