It’s obvious that people are angry and frustrated with the way the railway system has been run in this country since it was dismantled and sold off in the ‘90s, and yesterday’s extortionate train fare rises have only made this situation worse.
I began the Bring Back British Rail campaign two years ago. After years of enduring delayed, over-priced and over-crowded journeys around the UK, I finally snapped. It was clear from my experience as a passenger, that having so many competing franchises running separate sections of the network was both inefficient and unsafe. It resulted in people like me getting a raw deal, whilst the shareholders in the private train companies (who probably don’t even use the trains!) swanned-off with our government’s transport subsidies.
I’ve found that ‘Bring Back British Rail’ really strikes a chord with the majority of people using and working on the railways – it sums up their cries for a radical rethink of the way the railway system is run and managed. Since 2009, the campaign (based around a lively Facebook page), has gone from strength-to-strength becoming the ‘collective voice’ of this shared anger and frustration.
The East Coast franchise came into public ownership in 2009 after National Express (the company running the franchise at the time), realised it wasn’t quite the money-spinner that they’d hoped. The point the campaign is making is that this shouldn’t be about making money. Having a good, sustainable transport system is about providing a valuable service to the people of Britain and not about running a business. The East Coast nationalisation has proved that it is possible, realistic and could actually save us money. But the truth is that the greatest hurdle we face is not financial, but rather getting the politicians who allowed the privatisation to go through in the first place, to admit that they were wrong.
Founder, Bring Back British Rail