The Big Issue

The Bring Back British Rail campaign gets a great little preview by Emma Rubach on page 46 of The Big Issue magazine 1 – 7 March 2010.

“Who remembers the glory days of British Rail (BR)? I’m proud to say I’m too young, but I do remember my father complaining about BR (especially waiting for ‘the engineers’ to be called out – no rail replacement buses in those days, or mobile phones).

Perhaps it’s our unstoppable nostalgia for everything ’80s, or perhaps our current rail network is just such a shambles, but either way, a campaign called Bring Back British Rail is generating a surprising amount of support.

The campaign has generated over 2,000 signatories to a petition on the Number 10 website. It’s even commissioned a stylish update of the iconic BR logo, reworked to point forward (get it?). “The logo caused loads of controversy,” says Ellie Harrison, the founder of Bring Back British Rail. “To be honest, there are a lot of people out there who care a lot about trains, and they like things to be just so.”

Harrison, who at 30 is also too young to really remember waiting for the engineers to be called out, insists she’s not talking about bringing back that British Rail. For anyone fearing delayed trains, soggy sandwiches and strike action, she points out that the old version of BR was willfully under-resourced.

In its place, she argues, we now have one of the most expensive railway networks in Europe, tied to an evermore confusing fare structure which seems to be steadily growing in price as the economy shrinks.

“I travel a lot on trains and it became obvious to me that since the railways were privatised, we’ve endured an expensive and confusing 18 years, pretty much in silence,” says Harrison. “Bringing our trains back to an integrated, central point which is run for public gain rather than private profit would solve the problem.”

She hopes that the campaign will catch the attention of vote-hungry MPs as the election approaches. To support Ellie’s campaign, visit Mullet haircut optional.”

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