The Railways, the Market and the Government

An incisive analysis of the future of the railways

The debate on rail privatisation often seems to focus on very narrow issues. Those on both sides of the argument seem to be able to employ a mass of statistics to prove their point. Proponents of privatisation suggest, with some credibility, that all was reasonably well with the privatised railways until the Hatfield disaster. Opponents point to spiralling costs since privatisation.

The authors of this monograph examine privatisation in the context of the long history of continual government intervention. The government imposed upon the industry a particular structure - separation of track and wheel. It also wrapped it up in increasing amounts of regulation.

After examining the history of government intervention in the railways and the privatisation process, the authors of this monograph then examine the future of railway policy. Should the industry be allowed to evolve its own structure - remerging the ownership of track and wheel if it wishes? What aspects of a railway should be regulated? Who should own the various parts of the infrastructure?

This monograph is essential reading for all with an interest in railway policy and the process of privatisation.

You may also wish to read The New Rural Economy: Change, Dynamism and Government Policy
by Professor Berkeley Hill et al; The Dangers of Bus Re-regulation by Professor John Hibbs or railway.com: Parallels between the early British railways and the ICT revolution by Robert C B Miller.

2006, Readings 61, ISBN 978 0 255 36567 3, 243pp, PB