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210 Responses to Comments

    • smug_alec

      I am in full support of BBBR, but I think it would have more credibility if at least the logo was the correct way round. (It’s not Bring Back Sealink.)

      • Kim Jong

        It’s BACK to British Rail so makes perfect sense.

      • Bring Back British Rail

        smug_alec: Thanks for your comment – and your support! This point is raised a great deal – we can only repeat that the logo is what it is, as Kim Jong suggests below, because we hope to ‘return’ to a nationalised system. It’s an inversion of the BR logo for exactly that reason.

    • John Smith

      I agree, Alec – the use of the reversed BR logo makes no sense at all, and smacks of amaterism.

      I guess there may be a copyright issue though as the BR logo is currently owned by National Rail? But still…

      • Bring Back British Rail

        John: thanks for the comment, but as above, the logo is a symbol for our wish to return to nationalised rail. We are sorry to hear you feel it ‘smacks of amateurism’ but we believe it’s a simple way of summing up what we are about: bringing back a nationalised rail system.

  1. One island, one rail operator and a simple ticketing policy. Not a lot to ask for. Can another government – Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany it next time and they have a better track record.

    • colin flowerday


      • bringbackbritishrail

        Thanks for your support Colin! Please make sure you sign the petition and spread the word…

      • colin flowerday


        • colin flowerday

          VIRGIN TRAINS get the BOOT after 15 years to be replaced by FIRST who are the most crap train company ever its dam proof rail privatisation has failed and FIRST should piss off into oblivian and Renationalise the whole rail network and restore the BRITISH RAILWAYS BOARD to this country there is no alternative as we need BRITISH RAIL urgently as this TORY thick idiotic weakest link goverment will pay for what its done with THE WALK OF SHAME. In east anglia now we have FIRST CAPITAL CONNECT who are useless and GREATER ANGLIA who are absolutely hopeless worser than NATIONAL EXPRESS EAST ANGLIA who were rubbish so stop this we want the BLUE and GRAY trains back bring back BRITISH RAILWAYS BOARD as soon as possable.

          • Joginder Singh

            If you think first trains are bad try their core activity buses according to the latest RMT magazine first bus in Devon wants to walkaway from bus opperations in North Devon

            I wonder what sort of railway we could have had if British Rail apparently the most cost effective and least subsidised national rail system in Europe had been given half the money trousered by the privatised rail fatcats ???

      • Man of Kent

        I was unfortunate to have commuted by British Rail for 8 long, painful years. British Rail was run to provide jobs for the staff. There was no “service”, the passengers seen as a nuisance.
        The frequent delays and cancellations were never explained, there were strikes and no attempt was made to improve things. Of course they were cash-strapped by the Government; they always are.
        I am sorry that some services are “useless”, but everything is relative; I suspect that Colin was lucky to use a line which had had some investment and upgrading. Until a few years ago, parts of the south east had signalling the Victorians would have recognised!

        • colin flowerday

          no i used BR and it was great as greater anglia is rubbish.

        • BR Left Wing Union Rubbish

          Well said Man of Kent. BR never offered a service. Anyone wishing their return is clearly wearing rose coloured specs . BR was a unions paradise and passengers came bottom of the pile. No system is perfect and colin seems to have a capitalisation bee in his bonnet!


            A fully paid up member of THE DAVID CAMERON APPECIATION SOCIETY its people like you who make me angry as BRITISH RAIL were and are excellent while these private companies are like you a bunch of TORY TOSSERS.

          • James Porter

            In British Rail days it cost about a quarter of an average weekly wage to travel from West Yorkshire to London and return, it now cost about three quarters. The state provides massive subsidies to private TOCs who pocket millions of tax payers money while pushing up fare levels beyond the reach ordinary people. For a family of four to walk onto Leeds station and book to London would cost up to £900: they could go on a package holiday to Europe for that price. We have the most expensive rail system in Europe and the most fragmented. I am a life long railway enthusiast and believe we need to re-establish the concept of a rail network with each element supporting the other and when a rail ticket from A to B means by any reasonable route as it used to be. The railways should be a public service not a profit making scheme.

  2. G

    You've got the logo back to front for starters!

    But good ideas here! :)—do

    • Hello G,

      Thanks for your comment.

      The logo is back-to-front on purpose! The idea is that it looks just like the old British Rail, but at the same time looks totally different. We wanted to hint at the idea of looking back in order to move forward (which we hope a new improved, integrated rail network would do), but also at the idea that a new British Rail has be different, better and more forward thinking than its previous, failed incarnation was. We hope the logo alludes both a sense of nostalgia about the past, but also an innovative approach to tackling our future public transport needs in the UK.

      • The logo you have used is also a logo used under British Rail when it ran Sealink, so really it isn't "looking" like the old-British Rail, technically it is still a BR logo.

        "failed incarnation", I have to disagree, British Rail itself didn't fail, it was the Conservative government that failed it by reducing subsidy year-on-year and then when it had enough it then split it up into 100 bite size chunks and sold them off.

        Interesting to note by the way, that in the final years of British Rail, the Intercity sector was actually making a profit, to split Intercity into 6 companies was just madness!

      • Anthony

        The back-to-front logo was actually the logo for Sealink…

      • Pete Jewell

        I too thought the backward logo was a typo, and hunted down the comments page to tell you — others got here first! Not sure if using it is going to help your cause, as the 'normal' logo is so well known.

        I came here via a URL in a Wikipedia article. The paragraph about your campaign had been removed as non-notable (and it was blatant advertising anyway, which isn't allowed). If you want a chance of a mention you'll need to get coverage in multiple (reputable) news media sites first.

        But good luck, none-the-less.

    • Nigel Baldwin

      Personally, I’d do away with the ‘squashed swastika’ completely! Bring back the Lion and Wheel (simplified), and the proper name – British Railways.

  3. Christopher Madden

    I applaud this campaign! I like the fact that you're nots simply arguing for British Rail's reinstatement, but for a much more accountable, responsible, and efficient version that demands that the government takes public transport needs seriously and for it not to be treated like other ailing departments under its duty of care. I would like this campaign to spread to local bus services. I know it's early days for the rail campaign, but I think Arriva in particular, which operates basically as a back-breaking monopoly, certainly in Merseyside, should be targeted for the ways in which it is exploiting the public on the basis of increasing bus fares without justification or improvement in the service it provides. I suppose the point the British Rail campaign is making is that, whilst a re-nationalised rail service may not run to standard all of the times, it is at least accountable to its users. What this means is that when we are dissatisfied with the state of things, we can write to our MPs, who can then do something about it. With companies like Arriva, there is little that can be done by MPs, since government intervention in private business matters is frowned upon. And this, despite the fact that private businesses like Arriva can hold thousands, if not millions, of people to ransom over bus fares, meddling of timetables, erasing entire services to communities who need them, etc.

    • colin flowerday

      I agree mate we want BRITISH RAIL back as the train services are rubbish today.

      • Mike Friend

        I could’t agree more the private bus monopolies use preditary tactics to run any competition off the road ,we see this time and time again,the only time they will let another user in ,is if the route is not making a profit then the taxpayer has to fund another company to run this.The transport monopolies cannot lose its a win win situation backed by a goverment that despite what it says is against fair competition,in transport .If for instance you wish to travel from Plymouth to London you really only have great western and if you wish to travel to Birmingham you have to use cross country,so where is any competition .

  4. Excellent website, although I do agree with "G" that the British Rail Double Arrow is the wrong way round and have seen your reasoning, but it was designed with the top arrow pointing to the right for a reason, our trains travel on the left.

    Good luck with your campaign

    • Alex

      The one used above is the one used for shipping, since ships pass on the right, so the arrow was reverse to reflect this. At least, that's what I read somewhere. This means it is still correct in one way or another

  5. Frank Nicholas Adam

    British Rail ought to be brought back for passenger trains in England, Wales and Scotland albeit with the ScotRail name. As for Sealink, which the BRB logo represents above for ferries, there maybe a compelling case for the Scotland to Northern Ireland routes and Wales to the Republic of Ireland routes, switching over from Stena Line or combining because the fast ferries are set to be replaced in some cases.

  6. Frank Nicholas Adam

    DB Schenenker is state run and a proper railway company, operating freight in Scotland, England and Wales. Nederland Spoorwegen is likewise state owned and operates passengers services with other companies England, and is also a proper railway from the Netherlands.

    British Rail ought to be reinstated, given the fact that the railways are being nationalised by other State owned operators as it is, namely DB and NS, under various guises in England, Wales and Scotland. Just think of the German ICE being run from Euston House, is that scenario acceptable and too whom?

    Perhaps we might see SNCF Great Western, to bring a proper railway with electrification from London to South Wales and through trains to various French, Belgian and Swiss destinations?

    • Frank Nicholas Adam

      After Network Rail today making plans for a High Speed Line for Scotland from London in various time scales of planning, it is even more apparent that joined up thinking is required to join up the management structure of the privatised railway, but what is the timescale given that the Westminster Parliament is so weak? British Rail could be reinvigorated but will the weak unaccountable Westminster be able to do anything, as it is unrepresentative of the British people in so many ways?

  7. Where does this misconception that bringing back BR would create some paradise on rails come from? The evidence is totally against it. Most continental countries now have some form of private involvement on their networks, which is increasing network utilisation as private firms cater for markets that monopolies don't. Also Northern Ireland Railways is not exactly the greatest network since sliced bread, is it?

    • Thanks for your comment Kevinho. The dream is certainly for a "paradise on rails", but what we can be sure of is that was definitely do not have this at the moment under the current private franchise system. Something has got to change. This does not necessarily mean returning to the old British Rail system, but trying a new alternative model where the passengers take absolute priority, rather than the shareholders.

      • Jon

        According tothat font of knowledge:


        The latest performance figures for NI Railways according to Translink are 99% of trains arriving at the final destination within 5 minutes and 100% within 10 minutes of the scheduled time. Among other accolades, NI Railways won the prestigious UK Rail Business of the year for 2008"

        Beats the mainland.

    • Frank Nicholas Adam

      This present Westminster Government has brought in the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), and as far as I see the Northern Ireland Assembly has authorised modernisation of Northern Ireland Railways stations to comply with the various DDA rules. To compare with the privatised railway in England, Scotland and Wales there is no respective national policy to comply with the legislation, save a few local schemes in some places. So NIR Translink is doing the right thing for citizens.

      • Frank Nicholas Adam

        One of the problems in the UK is the low priority given to extending the rail network to places that need new lines, it is all very well for the chattering classes to keep talking about 'carbon foot prints', when no alternative policies are authorised and implemented. Take railways to connect towns and cities that have no train service, under British Rail the Mansfield line known as the Robin Hood Line was one such scheme that was and is successful, in Nottinghamshire.


      FRANK SPENCER is alive and well what dum pratt.

  8. Frank Nicholas Adam

    Certain people paint a political utopia of Europe, when it comes to privatisation of the railways. In many respects the privatisation of BR is to comply with European Union rule from Brussels and yet is not comparatively a policy implimented in such a corrupt way as compared with EU countries. Take France with track being run by RFF and trains run mainly by SNCF, the track is also maintained by SNCF, so that is the model that should be copied over in England, Scotland and Wales? Or will we see more indecisive policy from Whitehall that follows orders from Brussels. Where is democracy?

    • Frank Nicholas Adam

      Since British Rail has been privatised there has been a decline in passenger station reopening, primarily because of the INCREASED costs of paperwork with so many organisations to deal with to enable anything to be done. Take Gloucestershire for example, under British Rail a station was reopened at Cam and Dursley and whilst Railtrack was being created a station at Ashchurch for Tewkesbury was opened with a very higher than inflation price for construction. Since then the plans for more new stations are sitting already drawn up in Gloucestershire County Council offices, with no sign of anything being done. Namely stations at Stonehouse Midland Road and Charfield on the Gloucester to Bristol Parkway section.

    • Frank Nicholas Adam

      Since British Rail has been privatised there have been many wasted opportunities to get improvements done to the rail network. Behold the platforms at Birmingham Moor Street from the vantage point of Selfridges in the the Bullring which have been restored by Chiltern Trains and various construction companies with the track unconnected by Network Rail. So there in the England's second city is second rate transport policies in action, sorry lack of action.

      • Frank Nicholas Adam

        The end of British Rail was also falsely claimed to lead to integrated transport, uniting bus companies to railways for example. Look at the integrity of the deals on offer to rail users and taxpayers to see the British public are being taken for a ride. The key point being INTEGRATION of TRACK and TRAINS is REQUIRED! Most lines that have been reopened (without State Aid) and extended since privatisation have INTEGRATED TRACK & TRAINS, namely Preserved Railways.

      • Frank Nicholas Adam

        In terms of railway engineering when Railtrack took over from British Rail, the priority was the London Stock Market and share price instead of engineering, Part of the causation of the major rail crashes was due to engineering and safety omissions hence the creation of the State owned Network Rail.

    • Frank Nicholas Adam

      Prior to the actual privatisation of British Rail the first thing that was silenced was the Rail Users Consultative Committee (RUCC), they were banned from directly commenting on the policy of railway privatisation. The current Passenger Focus no doubt has similar orders whereby they are not allowed to comment upon railway privatisation. So the very bodies set up by Westminster to represent rail passengers interests are prevented from representing passengers in the most effective way. Hence a backlog of complaints, are given the only solution allowed 'A New Franchise Required' in effect!

      • Frank Nicholas Adam

        The sorry sagas of railway franchising were exemplified by Connex. The French concern even resulted in railway staff dressed up as French Gendarmerie. I saw some in Brighton, I wonder if the National Railway Museum in York has any manikins dressed up in such a way?

      • Frank Nicholas Adam

        Just think of the success of the inspiring Network Southeast during the British Rail era, with railway improvements across London and the South East. The policies enacted did not occur outside the South East of England, as they ought to have done in the largess. However new trains, new stations and railway electrification were noted as successful, giving a decent railway to citizens when investment was allowed. Just think of the 100mph Networker Electric Multiple Units (EMUs), you can still open the windows as well.

      • Frank Nicholas Adam

        This year it is 25 years of the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit), whilst the EMUs initially were German, the overhead line equipment was installed by British Rail Engineering Ltd (BREL). So even in Ireland, British Rail made a substantial difference to transport on Irish Rail. The DART is extremely successful, hence policies to extend the system in the greater Dublin area, and surrounding counties.

      • Thanks for all your comments Frank. It is great to have so much background information about the downsides of the privatised system on the 'Comments' page. If you would like to get more involved in the campaign, please get in touch via the 'Get Involved' page.

  9. Craig

    Great idea, but you might be taken more seriously if you got the BR Arrow the right way around!!

    • Hello Craig, thanks for your comment and support of the campaign.

      I just want to reiterate that our logo looks as it does on purpose! It is the considered choice of the designer Fraser Muggeridge.

      Besides, our logo is the Bring Back British Rail campaign logo, and not the British Rail logo. They are different things and stand for different organisations. There is more reasoning behind the design of our logo in the comments below.

      Sorry to hammer this point home, but I have had a lot of comments and emails from people thinking it's 'wrong'.

      • "It is the considered choice of the 'designer' Fraser Muggeridge."

        Not really the hardest logo to have come up with, put a BR logo back-to-front and type text in Rail Alphabet, I've got the Rail Alphabet font, and could have done it for free for you.

      • I'm not sure this is the most useful discussion to be having and is distracting from the campaign's aims. The logo design was of course produced free-of-charge and all the work done to set-up and run the campaign so far has been voluntary.

        If really people want to support the campaign the three most important things they can do are:

        1) Sign the petition:

        2) Join the mailing list:

        3) Spread the word!

      • Fritz von Marshall-B

        I trust you have suitable permission from the British Railways Board (Residule) Ltd., for using the "Double Arrow" or "Arrows of Indecision", whether the "BR" way, or not.

        Your version is not wrong: when the logo was developed for the "new" Corporate Image following the abolition of the BTC in 1962, both versions of the logo were copyrighted for use on rolling stock… i.e. the logo could be reversed if necessary (or, if some clot put the decal on the wrong way – as I saw on numerous occasions in the Paint Shop during my time in the Chief Mechanical Engineer's Office of BR).

        Of course, even with the permission of the BRB(Residule)Ltd., you would still need the permission of the current license holders: National Rail and (I'm pretty certain) ATOC.

        Just a thought – don't want any nasty law suits even before the petitions filled up.

        All the best.

      • Malcolm Clayton

        yes… a lot of comments, from the people you are trying to (and i agree absolutely rightly so) get to join together for an extremely worthy cause. However, please please please etc. don't fall foul of the biggest mistake BR and all the official organisations associated thereby made.. ie Not Listening To The People That They Allegedly Represented!!!!!

  10. Tim B

    Surely would be easy to renationalise services as the franchise comes up for renewal – giving rise to a gradual renationalisation of rail.

    I pay a lot in taxes to use my car on the creaking road infrastructure – how wonderful for this money to get spent on the wider transport system making journeys that could be accomplished by rail affordable, and freeing up road space for those that aren't.

    Trouble is 'Green' policies are used as an excuse by this rotten government to tax us more to pay for the econoic black hole that they have created!

  11. Angus

    I agree in principal to your campaign, railways should be run for the benefit of the passengers and not the operators. However, I do not agree that all services should be nationalised. Operators such as Grand Central and Wrexham & Shropshire currently provide as service which surpasses the quality of nearly all franchised operators and British Rail its self. If these services were to be nationalised as well, it extremely likely that the service levels currently experienced on these routes would continue to stay as high.

    • Roger

      As a regular user of Chiltern and Wrexham yes the service they provide is very good indeed – but Wrexham has what eight(?) trains a day on an uncongested line and Chiltern's success is actually very largely down to the fact that BR invested hundreds of millions of pounds in the route in the late 1980s and early 1990s – even the new trains bought by Chiltern in 1997 (to much fanfare) had been ordered by Network SouthEast just before privatization.

      On a railway-wide basis the main (most complex) routes carrying the most passengers have deteriorated or not got any better since 1997.

    • Frank Nicholas Adam

      Some of the so called private companies are not private at all. Wrexham and Shropshire Railways listed is owned by Chiltern Trains which is owned DB. DB is state owned by the German Government. The British people know that privatisation of the railways was designed to allow 'Foreign State Run' railways to bid for British Rail. This is why democracy is in the equation even though Westminster has handed over power to Brussels and other European Countries benefit, yet the British taxpayer is funding all this, either directly or by fares!

      • Frank Nicholas Adam

        The British taxpayer paid for the depot in Wrexham for Wrexham & Shropshire Railways, because the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) paid for it. WAG wanted through trains from Wrexham and North East Wales and Shrewsbury (Cambrian Coast connections) to London. Economic benefits occur as a result of regular trains. WAG are more aware of railways benefiting people than some of the London establishment.

      • Frank Nicholas Adam

        The London establishment often times hold the rest of the UK in contempt. Hence the 1960s era Beeching Report, with line closures what the establishment calls "the Celtic Fringe". So South West Scotland and North East Scotland were decimated of railways including the Borders. Likewise key Trans Pennine lines were shut, and the all Wales Carmarthen-Aberystwyth and Pwllhelli-Bangor closure. In Cornwall branches were closed and the mainline in Devon to Waterloo. In Northern Ireland lines west of Portadown were closed to Omagh-Strabane on the Great Northern Railway. Even the private Sligo, Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway had to close once the GNR Enniskillen line was closed.

        • Joginder Singh

          What price a reopened Great Central London extentsion [berne/uic loading gauge] and Great Central Woodhead route now ???

      • Jon McCarthy

        This is a marvellous and absolutely necessary campaign. I offer warm applause to Ellie Harrison and anyone else who helped get it started, and it has my total support and attention.

        I have particularly enjoyed reading the informed comments of Frank Nicholas Adam. His well explained arguments highlight many of the reasons why rail privatisation has been such an unmitigated disaster.

        For the many people who support the aims of this campaign, I can wholeheartedly recommend reading 'THE GREATEST RAILWAY BLUNDER', written by ADRIAN VAUGHAN and published this year by IAN ALLAN PUBLISHING. In it, Mr Vaughan explains in a detailed but never complicated way the fundamental and practical reasons why rail privatisation has not worked, is not working and will never work. He exposes the cynicsm and extremist political dogma driving the tory politicians who pushed the process through, and as each chapter passess one feels increasingly sickened about the whole thing, as the author makes it all so clear how ridiculous the running of the railways now is.

        I would even suggest that the book and it's key arguments should form the foundation of this campaign, as the case it makes for a nationalised railway is just so brilliantly presented.

    • mickmccann

      some off the greatest trains ran under BR who desined built and ran trains that the rest of the world took on
      as for now we import our trains built in china quality isn't garented i know i have to drive then every day
      so here is a list a trains we a have developed and now buy from everyone else

      APT BR ……….penaleno VIRGIN BUILT IN ITALY
      170 TO 166 TO 159 WAS BASED ON DMU UNITS BUILT IN THE SIXTIES THE 225 UNIT WAS THE LAST TRAIN BUILT IN THE UK FOR A UK MARKET OUR CREAM OF THE MODERN RAILWAY so all i can say is there hasn't been any company who has heavly invested in the railway infastructure ie stock most units where BR built except for virgin but again they when abroad for the locos

  12. Edmund Chinnery

    Whilst I agree in principle with this campaign. As longer franchises would only solve some of the problems. You only have to look at the USA where it has fell to the federal and state governments to provide very basic intercity services by the former,commuter services in around some big cities by the latter.

    But no major party has commited to nationalisation of operations, even after a quasi nationalisation of infrastructure. I believe the way forward is to start up a cooperative of the unions, commuters and other interested parties. To bid for franchises when they come up for renewal.

    Indeed should this organisation be called British Rail. We certainly would be doing away with the multi national werether possible.

  13. acb

    Good cause. Though I think that your page needs some hard statistics about why privatisation has failed (such as the often-quoted figure about the subsidy paid to private operators a few years ago being three times BR's final annual budget, along with details of operator profits and ticket price rises).

  14. Timothy Baldwin

    I agree with the goal of "a fully integrated, publicly-owned rail network"

    But nationalisation does not result in full integration, within continental Europe international public transport is in a poor state with a lack of international local services (both bus and train), expensive fares for international journeys, an ongoing collapse in overnight services, a complete mess of ticket sales/booking, and in some cases publishing incorrect train timetables. Britain is the worst part of this mess.

    We need a railway that is publicly owned and internationally integrated, and to get rid of the obstructive security rules for the channel tunnel.

    Nationalising the section of the British rail network that is privately owned would be a good start, but the freight operation of Deutsche Bahn should not be split up – the British government should buy some of the shares the German government is intending to sell.

  15. frank the morale off

    totally agree, all servicing depots are seperate and if there is a fault, the service can be cancelled rather than getting another set from the lead operators depot. also everything costs more due to the number of seperate departments. bring back BR and raise staff morale

  16. Jon McCarthy

    This is a marvellous and absolutely necessary campaign. I offer warm applause to Ellie Harrison and anyone else who helped get it started, and it has my total support and attention.

    I have particularly enjoyed reading the informed comments of Frank Nicholas Adam. His well explained arguments highlight many of the reasons why rail privatisation has been such an unmitigated disaster.

    For the many people who support the aims of this campaign, I can wholeheartedly recommend reading ‘THE GREATEST RAILWAY BLUNDER’, written by ADRIAN VAUGHAN and published this year by IAN ALLAN PUBLISHING. In it, Mr Vaughan explains in a detailed but never complicated way the fundamental and practical reasons why rail privatisation has not worked, is not working and will never work. He exposes the cynicsm and extremist political dogma driving the tory politicians who pushed the process through, and as each chapter passess one feels increasingly sickened about the whole thing, as the author makes it all so clear how ridiculous the running of the railways now is.

    I would even suggest that the book and it’s key arguments should form the foundation of this campaign, as the case it makes for a nationalised railway is just so brilliantly presented.

  17. Paul Williams

    Virgin trains prevent passengers travelling on Wrexham and Shropshire services south from Wolverhampton. This would probably be acceptable if Virgin provided a competing service to the same stations but they don’t.
    A national rail service, owned by the taxpayer, would be obliged to put the passenger first.

    • Darren

      I believe this is due to competition rules within the terms of the InterCity West Coast Franchise, which in laymans terms means Virgin call the shots!

      I really think the National Rail tagline of "Britain's train companies working together" nowadays is really quite laughable and out of touch with the railway as it is today.


    I am 100% in agreement with this.
    Let,s have an end to self serving "Micky-MouseRailways" as soon as possible.
    I fail to understand how anyone could say the railway has improved in the hands of these people.
    Any help I can give you are more than welcome to.

  19. mick davis

    how do i get a t-shirt?

    • Hello,

      Thanks for your interest in the T-Shirts.
      If you go to the 'Get Involved' page, and click on the link corresponding to the size you would like, it should take you through to PayPal to complete your order.
      Contact us if you have a problems with this. Thanks!

  20. Peter S

    I always said that privatising rail was a really bad idea.

    Just before privatisation I heard from several (BBC ?) news reports that BR was the second most efficient rail service in the World by any measure. Second only to Japan which has large cities and packed commuter trains.

    I recently tried to find the source of this info but drew a blank. Anyone know were it came from ?

    Good luck with the campaign. Let's re-open some of the Beeching'd lines and while we are at it get the millions of smoke belching lorries off the roads.

  21. marcus

    BR was a pro outfit compared to the current shambles.

  22. Edward Tucker

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I wonder if we should see red and white liveried trains (all over red with white windows). Don't know about British Rail Corporate Blue or Sectorisation colour schemes because they may have some word or another going around. What do you think?

  23. Danny

    brilliant idea – 100% agree
    just one thing though – the BR arrow you have is the wrong way round

    • Thanks for your support of the campaign.

      I would prefer it if the debate about the logo did not to go on any longer as it is a major distraction from the campaign's aims of demanding a better, fairer transport system for the people of Britain.

      I will just say that our logo is not 'wrong'. It is not wrong, because it is the logo of our campaign called 'Bring Back British Rail' and not the logo of 'British Rail' itself. There is a big distinction there. We are not the same thing – one is a campaigning group run by a very small number of volunteers and the other, as we are all aware, was the state-owned national rail operator for the British Isles.

      I therefore think it is totally acceptable that we don't have identical logos. People have already mentioned that this may have been a copyright infringement anyway. Our campaign's logo is meant to be a subtle twist on the old BR logo, it is meant to be a pun on the word 'back', but most importantly it is meant to be something that distinguishes us, as a campaign, from the British Rail of old – indicating that what we are actually striving for is a rail network which does not simply 'return to', but that is bigger, better, more far-reaching, more expansive, more efficient and greener than the old British Rail…

      Wouldn't that be amazing?

      Ellie Harrison

      • Darren

        Perhaps with so many people spotting and commenting on the logo shows how well known the logo is in it's correct format, being in the public eye since the mid-60's. Show anybody the BR logo, and 99% will instantly be able to tell you what it represents.

        Due to this I doubt the debate of the logo will every go away.

        Good luck with the campaign.

      • Frank Nicholas Adam

        British Rail linked all the jurisdictions of the British Isles, but was one of the State owned rail operators. The first State owned operator in the British Isles was CIE (Coras Iompair Eireann), which operated in the then Irish Free State now the Republic of Ireland. CIE still exists, as Irish Rail, Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann. All that is left of BR is the BRB Residuary (the old BR Property Board).

      • Rex

        The reversed double arrow was the logo of Sealink (British Rail's shipping service).

    • David Sterratt

      I think the logo and the website design is a beautiful take on the old BR corporate image – clear, uncluttered and stylish. It is in complete contrast to plethora of liveries and identities (some really awful) that we have been subjected to since privatisation. The "back"-to-the-future-ness of backwards-facing arrows works well for me.

  24. Andy P

    Great campaign, hope it has en effect. My first thoughts were also about the logo being incorrect. The old BR logo is now the national symbol for our railway stations so it would make more sense for this to be at the forefront of your cause, otherwise everyone will just think 'the logo is wrong' whenever it is seen. Indeed, the logo being backwards is the only thing stopping me buying the merchandise.

  25. richard helliwell

    can you let me know when more t-shirts come into stock.

  26. David Sterratt

    I think this is a brilliant idea – I've been thinking of writing to my MP about this for ages, and I really do intend to get round to doing so soon.

    As well as the high fares and fragmented network, it is the sheer inefficiency and cost of privatisation that annoys me. In 2007, I was involved in some correspondence with David Guild which was published in the Edinburgh Evening News:

    The key point I made is:

    "… according to the Office of Rail Regulation, in 2005-2006 taxpayers paid £6.3 billion for Britain's railways. This is over three times more than the £1.6bn paid for our nationalised railway in 1993-1994. Passengers are paying more too, as fares cost 13.1 per cent more in real terms than they did in 1995.

    The railways do need to be liberated from Governme
    nt micro-management, so let's hope that Bob Crow can persuade the [Scottish] Executive to make ScotRail an arms-length, state-owned enterprise.

    Railways have enough competition from other forms of transport, without being fragmented by the artificial, inefficient market created for privatisation."

    I've mentioned the campaign to a few people, and also to the Campaign for Public Ownership:

    I'd be keen to write to other people about this.

    One other thought: I think I saw that there are 4000+ friends on the facebook page but around 1100 signatories to the petition. Would there be a way of persuading the facebook friends to sign? I don't use facebook, so I don't know much about this.

  27. Alastair

    Totally support the campaign, privatisation's been a disaster in terms of the costs of acheiving improvements to the railway, which has meant massive increased expense to taxpayers and has also pushed up the cost of tickets.
    Given the amount it would cost, I do worry about the acheivability of full renationalisation though, as buying back the rolling stock would be expensive and re-integrating the entire system into one huge company would be a huge exercise.
    As a good alternative I'd like to see the current franchising methodology scrapped and replaced with a system akin to the London Overground arrangement, where a public body (Transport for London in this case), sets the fares and dictates the level of service, leaving a private contractor to simply do the day-to-day job of making sure trains run. This ensures that the service is run in the interest of public / social / economic benefit, and a private contractor is incentivised to run the service in a way that best meets those needs. If they don't, they won't acheive a profit. The system is relatively new to the railway but is very similar to the model that's been used for London Buses for many years and was given the thumbs up by the audit commission as providing good value:

  28. David Faircloth

    I came across this campaign by accident; and I think this is the problem. People aren't aware of its existence.

    I'm sure that there are thousands of people who, like me, support completely the concept of having an integrated, publicly owned AND operated railway, providing a service to our country. Trains should run when and where people want them (as far as is reasonably practicable), they should be comfortable, fares should be reasonable and easily accessible to all (it shouldn't be necessary to have a degree in computer operation to find the best deal possible!), car parks should be free (or, at worst, reasonably priced), etc.

    So we all need to spread the word and get as many people as possible to sign the Downing Street petition. After all, if some of our continental cousins (like those living in Belgium or Switzerland) can enjoy such "luxuries" as I've described above, why can't we?

    The simple fact is, that with a single integrated railway owned and operated by the state, we could have all of these – at a lower cost to us as tax payers, ticket purchasers, or both, than is presently the case with our privatised rail network.

    This is the message which MUST be got across. Lets hope for success for this campaign.

    • Hi David,

      Thanks for your support – I'm very glad that you have discovered the campaign. I am aware that there is a massive wave of discontent amongst the people of Britain about the state of their railways and that something needs to be done. The campaign aims to function simply by uniting these people and becoming a collective voice to government via our online petition, in order to make them listen and eventually do something to improve the situation.

      The most important part of the campaign’s activities at the moment is in spreading the word and creating awareness for its existence, through email marketing, Facebook, other online tools, our stickering / flyering campaigns, merchandise such as the T-Shirts and press appearances.

      We are reyling on ALL supporters of the campaign to help us by spreading the word. If you are in support of our aims please do tell all your interested and sympathetic friends / colleagues. Our main aim in the run up to the General Election is to get as many signatures as possible on our online petition:

      If you have any good, creative ideas for getting the word out there, please do get in touch.

      Thanks, Ellie Harrison

  29. Bring back British Rail Class 50 s on the Waterloo to Exeter route.They had a faster top speed than the modern trains that replaced them .The carriages they pulled had proper seats and a windows that you could look out of without having your view obstructed by a plastic clad partition.Of the 50 class 50s built ,18 of them survive in private ownership ,such was the esteem that they were held in.A fleet of 50s could be leased back foruse on this line,there are plenty of surplus ex-BR carriages that could be overhauled.This would represent a sevice improvement at mimimal cost.

    • iMark

      Bad idea. The class 50 locomotives were not suited for this route because of the many station calls. Many breakdowns on single track sections causing horrible delays.
      Loco-hauled services are a romantic idea but in practice much more expensive to run than DMU's. Less operational flexibility and expensive run rounds of engines at both ends of the journey.

      You'd better ask for a proper seating layout in the class 159 trainsets.

  30. I found this site by the way thanks to an article in the january Railway Magazine.

  31. Morgan

    Interesting Picture, I need to catch a train from Camborne to Penzance (Cornwall) for a new job, last week there was a train but put of the mainline had engineering work being done. That meant there was 4 trains going between Penzance and Liskard and going back to Penzance.

    But this Saturday there is a 2 hour gap, bang on the time when people need to go to work or for people going shopping.

    I have had to ask my mum to take me down, a 27 mile round trip thanks to bad management.

  32. Joe Diamond

    Hello. I support this campaign %100. I don't use trains (because I can't afford them) but I am forced to use tubes and buses sometimes, usually when I crash my motorcycle. (Which I bought specifically because of the prices/stress of public transport, so you certainly have a point in environmental terms.)
    I was wondering if this campaign extends, or is ever planning to extend, to underground and bus services? Is there another equivalent campaign?
    Good luck with the campaign. As a commuter I thank you for your efforts.

  33. dave blake

    Is there a reson why the BR symbol is back to front? Or am I missing the reason (like its returning ie: coming back! (( Bring Back BR etc etc))!!!!)


  34. Ian Jenkins

    We all recognise that the current system is deficient im many areas. The franchise system allows excess profits to be made at the expense of the taxpayer and the traveller. But I wonder what railways would be like if dear old BR were still in existence. It begs the fundamental question of 'What Kind of British Rail'? As I recall, even in its better years under Sir Peter Parker, the railway was inefficient, dirty and crumbling. Over the last few years we have seen a resurgence in rail travel, with over a billion passenger journeys made for the first time since 1950. Some of the new operators are doing well, with Chiltern for me taking top spot. In fact, the Chiltern line would have been closed and ripped up, were it left to BR.
    No-one has mentioned freight, which is now doing much better as a privately run operation, with keen, competitive companies driving it on.
    The princilpe of open access has resulted in new operators (Hull Trains, W&SMR) providing new services which BR could have provided, but could not be bothered.
    There does need to be a tweaking of the system, but, and speaking as one who was dead against privatisation at the time, I think that to bring back BR would be retrograde.

    (PS, Is that fool Bob Crowe behind this?)

    Ian Jenkins

    • Ian Jenkins ,presents a valid argument ,raising some very good points .Its very easy to look back at BR through rose tinted specs.The current situation with the East Coast Mainline from London to Edinburgh is typical of the muddled thinking of the privatisation era.The ECML ,isnt expected to stay in public ownership for much longer .GNER did a good job running this line ,however the goalposts were sucessively moved to the point where they had to bail as it was impossible for them to make any profit.The subsequent franchise performed poorly in comparison,the stopgap has made a good start -many new services for the new timetable .How many livery changes will the rolling stock see on this route ?How many of the original staff have remained on this line who have kept their jobs with each disruptive change of custodianship? Its in turmoil.Chiltern are without doubt one of the sucess stories of privitisation.Bob Crow? glad I never mentioned him.

      • Hi David, Thanks for your comments. The campaign was set up by me – a frequent commuter – after years of frustration caused by delays, poor service and high prices. Not by Bob Crow!

        If you read the ‘Background’ page of the website, you can find out more about my motivations.

        It also explains that the campaign does not have retrograde ambitions. It is very forward thinking – with the environment high on its list of priorities. The campaign’s name ‘Bring Back British Rail’ is being used to grab attention and capture the people’s imagination in order to finally get the politicians to address the situation – to put an end to the cynical profiteering we are witnessing by the likes of National Express and improve the railways for everyone.

        Ellie Harrison

    • James Woodman

      I'll have to correct you, Ian, on your point that the Chiltern route "would have been closed and ripped up" under BR. Although it is true that plans to close Marylebone station were mooted in the 1980s (since the bulk of the Chiltern network not served by the Metropolitan Line can just as easily be accessed from Paddington) BR's eventual choice was total route modernisation in the early 1990s. Chiltern Railways was very much at an advantage in that it inherited a brand new railway, and thus all its investment could be channelled into expansion.

      I have used Chiltern's Birmingham-London service many times, and have no intention of knocking them, but lately I have come to the conclusion that with a properly integrated, not-for-profit network such a service would be unnecessary, particulary bearing in mind that the fixed-formation Pendolinos occupy typically just three-quarters of the available platform lengths on the Euston route.

  35. Sally Renner

    Brilliant work Ellie – another great project!
    This probably isn't very interesting to read, but here's my experience of trains…
    I live about 9 miles from my nearest train station, to which it's tricky to get a bus to, the bus stop being 40mins walk away. Once I get to the station it's about £11.10 'anytime' or £9 'off-peak' return to Leicester; a 25mile journey. Trains go once an hr (always just before the next price band threshold as well!) and there's not even a sign at the station so that you know whether the next train is going to turn up or not! Announcements are only made until 12noon while there's someone in the ticket office. The man in the ticket office has been known to be rude to me when I have arrived late to buy my tickets…not my fault! There are tractors round these parts on single lane roads!
    The trouble is, where I live I can't live without a car. So I have to have a car, but I want to use train travel. The sums just don't add up. I would like the train journey to be cheaper than car travel or at least not wildly more expensive. And bring back village stops please! I want to be more eco-friendly :(
    Well done Ellie and good luck!

  36. L Fawcett

    This campaign is misguided. Britain's railways are a great success story and are set to get better. Only someone with an outlook warped by political dogma can kid themselves that a return to British Rail would be anything but the music hall joke that it was. The money poured into our railways in the last few years has given new life to a crumbling infrastructure, newer trains, new services and a 40% increase in passenger numbers. The current system of a publicly governed network rented to private train operators is the optimum. A system where operators please their customers and succeed financially, or collapse, is infinitely preferable to the drab monopoly that lumbers on regardless of whether or not it serves the public interest.
    I am not in the rail industry. I left it in 1963. And I don't view the former network with nostalgia. Rail has a great future in Britain and we should look to the future, not the past. New lines will be built and closed ones reopened where demand justifies them. And this may be sooner than you think as the oil runs out.
    If you genuinely care for our railway please put your considerable effort into promoting the system we have rather than rubbishing it.

    • Thanks for your comment. The aim of the campaign is to lobby for an improved train service – we want to encourage more people to choose the train in favour of using their cars, in order to reduce the UK's carbon emissions. We are forward-thinking! We would like to see the rail network in public ownership as it is a vital public service and not a cynical profit making opportunity. Why should we promote the private train companies, when money that could be reinvested in the system is being siphoned off to shareholders? Can't we have a public transport system owned by the public that we can be proud of?

    • It's not clear to me that "the current system of a publicly governed network rented to private train operators is the optimum". In fact, from a point of view of value for money, the opposite would appear to be true:

  37. Peter Hancock, PhD

    To those romantics, who vainly wish to restore British Rail (with or without the good old logo, backwards or forwards), may I suggest that it would be politically impossible to restore British Rail, in its pre-privatisation form. The reason is simple. Thanks to 'Devolution', the railways have also become 'devolved'. Hence we have Scotrail, for example; and that former component of 'British Rail' has ceased to exist, in its original form. Cambrian devolution also tends to detach that section of the former British Rail. It would appear, therefore, that the only reasonable logical form for a unified railway system, nationalized, or denationalized, would be ENGLISH RAIL. After all, there is ENGLISH HERITAGE, of which the railway system could be said to a major heritage.

    • Thanks for your comments. Despite devolution, it cannot be denied that people need now, more than ever, a quick and efficient way of travelling between England, Scotland and Wales. The trains offer this potential and we feel that a high-speed, integrated service that is not run for profit, but for the people who use it, is what the country of Great Britain needs. Only this can be its sustainable transport system of the future. Nothing is impossible, nothing is irreversible, and change is essential in order to encourage more people to begain to choose the train over their cars and domestic flights.

    • Frank Nicholas Adam

      Devolution in Wales, Scotland and London would allow British Rail as despite all the rhetoric mean WESTMINSTER is the Sovereign Parliament, even if it has disgraceful antics within it. The civil service has agreements with each other also read the relevant Acts. The whole of the UNITED KINGDOM of GREAT BRITAIN and NORTHERN IRELAND, taxpayer would not be fleeced if British Rail existed again, even if a few private rail companies and foreign state owned railways such as DB ran trains. The bureacracy could be cut which would benefit the normal people in society.

  38. Pauline Stephens

    I am a railway/ bus operations and timetabling consultant and believe that its gone to far as a non integrated railway with money lost to shareholders and individuals which could have been better used, also, a more unified approach will give a better railway. Common sense and realism should prevail.

  39. Pauline Stephens

    The railway is now out of control, private companies, individuals and the DfT are playing games with shareholders winning to the detriment of common sense and realism. I'm a railway timetabling and operations consultant fed up with playing games.

  40. David Sterratt

    According to the Office of Rail Regulation, in 2008-2009 taxpayers paid £5.2 billion for Britain's railways. This is over three times more than the £1.6 billion paid for nationalised British Rail in 1993-1994. Passengers are paying more too, with fares costing 22.7 per cent more in real terms than they did in 1995. This demonstrates that British Rail was cheaper for taxpayers and for passengers than the current privatised system. So why does the Labour party not support renationalising the railways?

    It wouldn't cost anything to take franchises back into national ownership when they end, and the figures suggest that the government could save at least £2 billion in subsidies. Also, a unified passenger network would be easier for passengers to understand than the current variety of levels of service, styles of timetables and liveries.

    I am disappointed that none of the mainstream parties give me any choice in the forthcoming election on this issue, especially the Labour party, who I would expect to be in favour of public ownership of important utilities.

    • Frank Nicholas Adam

      Jonathan Swift the erstwhile Dean of St. Patricks Church of Ireland Cathedral, in Dublin in the 18th century said, 'the party is the madness of the many, for the gain of the few'. How true old jest is today!

  41. Frank Nicholas Adam

    The Victorians ensured that the Railway network reached all parts of the vast British Isles. Even people who were Irish Nationalist MPs supported lines that linked Ireland and Great Brtian, such as that from London Euston, via Crewe and Chester to Holyhead (The Chester and Holyhead Railway), thence by ferry to Kingstown (now Dun Laoghrie, pronounced Dun Leary as sometimes spelt), to connnect with the Dublin and Kingstown Railway to Westland Row in Dublin. Today there is no strategy to electrify the North Wales Coast Line, as BR had plans to so do.

  42. Frank Nicholas Adam

    On the subject of politics why has the boat train been scraped from Stranraer to Glasgow Central. ULSTER and SCOTLAND are suppoosed to be linked. Why has Transport Scotland not decided this properly to allow First Scotrail to destroy connections.

  43. Chris Owen

    I entirely support your aims and now understand why you reversed the logo (yes that again) nevertheless, I feel its a mistake. I am another person that would buy your merchandise were that to be corrected.

    Good luck!

    Chris Owen

  44. Andi

    Wouldn't it be nice also if Britain still had some industry left in the form of locomotive and carriage manufacture, instead of having to buy everything from abroad. The old British Rail truly was 'British' Rail.

    • Frank Nicholas Adam

      There was a time not that long ago when France and the United Kingdom could be compared as equals but not now. The UK has failed to invest in the railway network unlike France. In France every respectable city has a tram system and suburban rail network. In the UK large cities have redundant lines not being used. Some towns are cut off the network despite their tourist potential, such as: Armagh City in Northern Ireland; Bideford in England; St Andrews in Scotland and Caernarfon in Wales to name places in every home country.

      • Frank Nicholas Adam

        The Alpine countries are investing in new lines and tunnels to enable passengers and freight to cross the natural barrier. In the United Kindgom, natural barriers are blocked more so. Not only the Woodhead route between Manchester and Sheffield is closed but the Rhondda Tunnel at Treherbert to Cymmer Afan in South Wales to name one. Nottingham and Glasgow has redundant tunnels that are not being used. It is amazing to think Dublin will have a new rail tunnel as well as London, yet Glasgow could have more tunnels given the significant population.

      • Frank Nicholas Adam

        Rail Tunnels have been built in Paris for full size (and double deck trains) for the RER. The Dublin Interconnector Tunnel will do the same linking suburbs-city-suburbs, likewise Crossrail in London (not the first system in Europe as they falsely allege). British Rail and Ken Livingstone enabled Thameslink to go ahead, through Farringdon etc linking suburbs-city-suburbs. In Glasgow the Crossrail over St.Enoch bridge over the Clyde could be used.

  45. David Peacock MInstT

    Sorry all,

    I'm old enough to remember the good old days of British Rail. Perhaps, I'm now through hard work in a position to have a 1st class season ticket on one of Virgin's West Coast routes, but rest assured, even in standard. I would give old BR a wide birth. As a transport professional I see the Pendolinos fully utilised in a way that BR would have simply not understood. Trains with not one but 5/6 members of a catering team. Trains turned around in 26 minutes at Piccadilly. 3 trains an hour to London from said station! I am well aware that this is maybe the jewel in the privatised rail crown, but this should simply be the benchmark not the exemption.

    It's not privatisation that has failed but badly awarded franchises followed up by poor and weak regulation.

    • Thanks for your comment. Personally I find the Pendolinos very claustrophobic and uncomfortable to travel on. The windows are small the seats are too upright and there is little leg room. Hot air blows at you from the floor and cold from the ceiling. I would rather have a long journey on the older BR stock or better still see all the trains upgraded to the levels of the Deutsche Bahn trains I have travelled on in Germany. There you really can have a god snooze and enjoy the ride. Best wishes, Ellie Harrison

    • Chris Owen

      I agree that privatisation has introduced some pretty slick operating efficiences such as very tight turn rounds but I see this as an unfortunate necessity rather than something of which we should be pleased. It is a pre-requisite of a railway run with a permanent shortage of rolling stock which when it works is tolerable but exposes operations to reaction delays for hours and gives no time for defects to be attended to.

      I don't see a jewel in the crown, I see resources being run into the ground as befits the short term profiteers of the franchised railway.

  46. James Woodman

    Having suffered the machinations of the privatised rail industry for 15 years, and now at the stage of being sick to death of it, I fully support your aims. An integrated system with a common-user rolling stock pool is a must for an efficient railway system.

    I know the subject of the reversed logo has been raised several times, and I think I see the idea behind it, but it just doesn't 'look right' to me. Similarly, whilst the name 'Bring Back British Rail' is certainly eye-catching, does it convey the right message?

    Nit-picking aside, may I draw your attention to the real enemy, which operates independently of the colour of the government, namely the Adam Smith Institute. Privatisation, fragmentation, subcontracting, internal markets, franchising, managers, managers, managers, jobs for the boys, rip-off Britain…. it's all the ASI's doing. Their obsession with free-market competition means that it has to be implemented where it doesn't naturally exist: that is, in a network, such as a railway system or a utility supply. This is done by introducing a layer of middlemen who, naturally enough, require decent salaries, good dividends paid to their shareholders etc., and of course it is the customer/end user who pays for it. The ASI was understandably popular with the Thatcher/Major governments and seems to have New Labour around its little finger as well. Sadly, the reintegration of the railways is unlikely to happen as long as the mainstream political parties remain in power.

  47. David Peacock MInstT

    I find the comments about the Pendolinos interesting and I won't disagree that these trains have their faults. The relatively small cabin is as we all know a compromise to allow for the 8 degree tilt within the small UK loading gauge, and they do tilt! [APT?] The heating can be a problem yes but that does seem to be getting better. As for the small windows, I'm sure the those who were on City of Glasgow the night it was wrecked through the recklessness of a NATIONALISED company's employee would strongly disagree as none of the coaches lost their integrity.

    • Pauline Stephens

      Yes I agree with the safety aspect regarding the crash, however, the windows can be made bigger as Voyagers have. There is a balance between absolute safety and passengers needs and comfort. One cannot design totally for every eventually otherwise we would all be travelling in padded containers which is close to how Pendilino's are. Crashes etc are a very important issue to take into account in design but just how far do you go before the safety overrides the overall travelling comfort and enjoyment just to cover something that may happen every 5 billion passenger miles (this figure is just an example not calculated). Its a balance and has to be acceptable for all.

  48. David Peacock MInstT


    I've posted twice now and in the replies no mention of poor franchising or Network Rail's woeful record.

    Come on guys.

    • Was Railtrack's safety record any better than Network Rail's? I seem to recall that the Hatfield crash triggered the quasi-nationalisation of Railtrack. I have fond memories of a 9-hour trip from Edinburgh to London in the wake of Hatfield, with the train crawling along at 40mph from Peterborough to London.

      There are good franchises and bad franchises – but the system does geared up to being hit-and-miss. The Government will always want the best "value" and companies are tempted to overbid, and then fail, e.g. NXEC.

      My (admittedly very crude) analysis suggests that the system now is less efficient than it was under the nationalised system. I'd be interested to know what your explanation for the generally increasing cost of a passenger kilometre in real terms to taxpayers and farepayers is.

      Re Virgin trains, I avoid the Voyagers where possible as they make me and the rest of my family feel sick. The Transpennine trains are better, but noisier than coaches pulled by a locomotive.

      • Pauline Stephens

        Yes I agree its more expensive now, both in fares and operating costs.
        As to loco and stock…its not as acceptable as locos dont carry passengers! But the ride is far superior, a Mk3 coach still gives a better ride than anything thats been developed since. My station Castle Cary still has HST's with MK3's and is heaven compared to other operators stock. Well except for the high backed airline seating that was imposed by FGW for more seating capacity and allegedly safety issues (here we go again with OTT ideas on crash safety with seats, other countries havent gone over the top in design).
        Loco and stock with a push pull or HST style power car at each end is a far superior system and has proven crash safety record as the weight/ stability is at the front to absorb the initial impact when needed, hopefully never.

    • Pauline Stephens

      Well having been in the industry since 1978 its changed a lot, BR did have its faults, lots of dinosaurs working for them and a few very clever dedicated people flying the flag for a better railway. Now its NR and DfT orientated with decision makers, the railway is better than before but theres still to much put onto political/ personal decisions that are quite frankly …not good. Thge original conception of the SRA was good and should have worked to pull together all aspects but was watered down as it wasnt what anyone wanted to meet their own views on the system. The franchise system is not right and can only be described as a bad compromise which is to rigid and not easily changed to meet demands/ changes to meet the customers requirements. One example is that passengers dont mind changing trains eg at New Street. Well I know a lot that drive rather than change at a user unfriendly station (even I have to think hard there as its so badly set up). Services like Liverpool – Penzance that ran for over 80 years were well used and people accept the choice of 1 through train or change… a lot went for the easier and less stress free option of it. The DfT and NR arent in the rewal world of what really happens on a journey to a large proportion of passengers and their fears of changing, new towns etc. National Express still operate 1 through journey a day on a lot routes and are very well loaded still. We have lost a lot and I could go on but wont…there is a real world that needs a railway to suit them not wanting a trainset to a few in power.

    • Frank Nicholas Adam

      Is Network Rail woeful so far so good. The Governement sorted out part of the mess now it needs to take control of the rolling stock as it owns the banks that own the trains.

    • Frank Nicholas Adam

      The so called Liberalisation of the Market has resulted in the most ill-liberal railway network in most of mainland Britain, because despite livery changes and a plethora of companies running franchised passenger railways, the State (and other embodiements of the Westminster Government), specify and stipulate the service requirements. To put it simply the State controls more of the railway than it has ever done under British Rail. The reason why that is ultimately is because the Govenrment realises that private Rail companies do not act in the interests of Passengers, however I doubt if it would state that so explicitly.

      • Frank Nicholas Adam

        Lest people forget the privatised British Rail also saw the virtual destruction of the Travelling Post Office, and all bar one route no Royal Mail services use the railways, which is also an abominable scandal. So another arm of the State has shown by it's physical actions, explicit of the contempt held in some quarters of an embodiment of the State of railway privatiseation.

      • Pauline Stephens

        ith International ticket sales, this was done by travel centres at major stations and BR owned retail outlets giving a complete sales package. On privatisation the International 'arm' was a seperate entity and dropped in most if not all locations as it wasn't part of the francise. Presumable it just wasn't profitable enough for operators as the workload for tickets was far greater per ticket than on a wholly UK based sale. Tickets are still easily available to Eire and Northern Island. Another case of a loss created by the lack of integration in the railway.

  49. David Peacock MInstT


    A good response, but one that puts the blame at the door of the public sector. My argument is simple. HM Government and/or the glorified local authorities in Cardiff and Edinburgh will always put their interests 1st, as has been the case with nationalised industries since 1948 and I suspect before?

    New Street! Well, what can one say? Pauline, it's great for the railways, but as you have pointed out, the king customer can vote, with their feet/cars!

    • Pauline Stephens

      Ive a long history in train planning and many things that I have done still make me smile when I see them …with pride. How many others are in that position or do they just quickly dissapear into the background when it goes wrong and blame it on something/ somebody else. Its all compromise, common sense and realism put up with legislation and financial constraints. I really hate the waste that goes on from huge areas of the industry. Next topic well debated is delay compensation lol. Im a specialist working for myself after redundancy last year a blow to myself as it insecure and wasnt wanted. NO ive no gripe to show and want to get back into mainstream industry again as it gets to me that theres not a lot of us left that still have a complete railway overview to accomodate every aspect of operations and commercial needs. All these people are these days in individual pidgeon holes with little idea or knowledge what the others are doing….its so detrimental to the industry. Moves have been made to change this but the core decision makers dont have this as an important point on their aggenda. The whole industry does need a rethink of how it works together and with others. The old Wessex trains had a lot of ideas and ways of working/ thinking that were gems and really good for the industry. No I didnt work for them, I was BR/ Railtrack/ NR just to note.

    • Frank Nicholas Adam

      British Rail days were far better. The Pendolinos were bought from Italy with equipment designed by British Rail Engineering. So even Virgin or is it really Stagecoach have a train developed by BR.

      • Frank Nicholas Adam

        The railway franchises are not designed with Passengers in mind hence no new rolling stock orders, in many cases. The local authorities also have a poor regard and in some cases understanding, that is why some lines that could function are left to rot with redundant track that could be opened again. Waste of resources is seen by putting in guided busways in place of trains.

      • Frank Nicholas Adam

        British Rail during the last years had a decent level of customer service, for Passengers, it was focussed on their needs. Staff were around on platforms and stations had Travel Centres. The Staff on the trains also provided a superlative service. Under privatisation apart from a few show case routes that has all but disappeared.

      • Frank Nicholas Adam

        Weasel words no doubt will fly around by various parties, to seek devious ways to have punitive measures for tax increases perhaps we should have more Referenda like the good folk of Iceland have. Regarding the Iceland and the UK, it could be said they need Railways and we need Democracy!

      • Frank Nicholas Adam

        In the UK previous Governments have signed International Treaties and as far as I know only one International Treaty has been over turned. Ironically the Maastericht Treaty, gave people 'freedom of movement in Europe', it is ironic that that freedom was made constructively difficult by the abolishment of British Rail. Ask you local ex-BR station for a return to any destination in Europe (outside the British Isles) and you will be told go to Eurostar or search the internet!!

  50. David Peacock MInstT


    I agree with you as regards MK3 stock. Wrexham and Shropshire as I'm sure you are aware use it, and I like both the company and their trains. But that's a company full of innovation and very few ex railway staff. It has a 98% satisfaction rating.

    I rest a small case.

    • Jon McCarthy

      Hello Mr Peacock,

      I’m sorry but I disagree with everything that you have to say.

      Firstly, you seem to suggest that the neglect of the track worker which led to the Pendolino derailment can be blamed on the fact that he was an employee of a nationalised company. What about the fatal crashes at Southall (1997), Ladbroke Grove (1999), Hatfield (2000) and Potters Bar (2002), all of which have since been directly attributed to the maintenance cost-cutting of Railtrack and it’s sub-contractors. Indeed, the removal of the profit incentive when maintenance was transferred to Network Rail is the precise reason why train crashes / incidents have declined since the horror-years of Railtrack.

      On the subject of the Pendolinos small windows, you say this is a safety feature designed to stop the coaches breaking up in an accident. But the Voyagers, a train also designed and introduced since privatisation, have the biggest windows of any in Britain, so are you therefore saying that the designers of the Voyager were neglectful of safety when designing their train?

      The small Pendolino windows are a major design cock-up. If Virgin really wants to defeat domestic aviation with their London – Scotland trains, then the train interior should have been designed to offer what aeroplanes cannot. For example, while a train can’t travel at 400mph like a plane, it can provide lots of tables and legroom, as well as big windows to take advantage of the more interesting view afforded by rail travel. A plane can’t offer any of these comfort-enhancing features, yet Virgin chose to ignore them all in their specification. This is why with travel between London and Glasgow, you have a choice between the plane which has the interior of a budget airline Boeing 737 and travels at over 350mph with a city-centre to city-centre journey time of just over 3 hours, or the Pendolino, which also has the interior of a budget airline 737, but can’t go faster than 125mph and has a city-centre to city-centre journey time of 4 hours 30.

      British Rail’s mark 2 and 3 coaches also had big windows, yet these coaches were universally praised for their superb structural integrity. A fine example of this can be seen with the Colwich rail crash of 1986, where a northbound intercity train collided head-on with a southbound intercity on the WCML near Stafford. Both trains were travelling at speed (the southbound train was near full speed) and both trains were packed expresses. Although one of the drivers sadly died, remarkably NOT A SINGLE PASSENGER WAS KILLED thanks to the great strength of the mark 2 and 3’s involved. Anyone who has seen a picture of the aftermath of this crash will see just how serious it was, with the carriages strewn all over the track but crucially remaining almost entirely intact. So please don’t dare suggest that British Rail’s carriages were designed to be anything less than as safe as they possibly could be, because I repeat, no passenger fatalities in a crash of such magnitude is quite incredible.

      Another notable aspect of the Colwich crash is the significant safety advantages gained from using locomotives as opposed to multiple-units like the Pendolino. In the crash, each train was lead by a class 86 locomotive, and they smashed into each other head-on. In doing so, they took the full force of the impact, totally destroying each other, but cushioning the trailing carriages. The locomotives acted as a buffer zone, as an airbag for the passenger filled carriages. Again, look at the photos of the aftermath; the class 86’s are damaged beyond repair (both were immediately scrapped), while the carriages remain structurally intact. Which is worse, a locomotive head-on crash where you are left with a dead driver plus a load of mangled traction equipment, or a multiple-unit head-on crash where you are left with a dead driver plus a load of mangled passengers?

      The ECML’s Intercity 125 and class 91 worked Intercity 225 trains are vastly superior for passenger comfort than the WCML / Cross Country Pendolinos and Voyagers. This is not surprising as the 125 / 225’s are British Rail built and follow the locomotive + coaching stock principle rather than under-floor traction. What’s more, they are more comfortable than the Pendolino / Voyagers despite being much older and therefore missing out on technological advances available to the privatised railway trains.

      Finally, oh thankyou privatised railway for your state of the art, 140mph, moving-block signalling WCML. How did we ever sleep before you came along with your fulfilled promises and always on-time, on-budget upgrade projects?

  51. Andy Vaughan

    I am afraid I am not a rail connoisseur, I do not understand the intricacies or running of a rail service, but I am a regular passenger (I hate the word 'customer') and use rail here in the UK, in continental Europe and in Japan. What I find incomprehensible is how, with all the excellent examples there are around, we seem to manage to import the worst aspects of just about every rail system on the planet and combine them into one totally inadequate, unreliable and over expensive whole.

    This week’s gripe is seat pitch and spacing, whereas limited seating is to be expected on commuter trains for journeys of less than an hour, the one advantage trains have over air and cars is the ability to work on the train, yet the seat pitch and spacing preclude this. The aircraft style seats are a disaster. Anybody who has travelled on a Japanese Shinkansen will be aware of the acres of space available (I would even say there is too much) yet here in the UK seat spacing and pitch means available space per passenger is risible, squandering the one main advantages trains have over aircraft.

    The Government blathers on about reducing CO2 emissions, yet when is come to one of the easy options to put that into effect, encouraging the use of trains they are found very very sadly lacking indeed and seem intent by their actions of achieving completely the opposite.

    • Frank Nicholas Adam

      Why are the seats cramped, as on the Standard Class First Great Western High Speed Trains? Primarily the main reason is passenger numbers increasing, but also the fact that a significant portion of every set is also running partially empty such as First Class. Also it is a fact that passnger safety on impact following significant crashes has resulted in a redesigned interior-this being the most important point. The diesel trains are not articulated so in the event of a crash the carriages may be dispaced. There is an excellent contrast with the electric Eurostar sets, which are articulated and the trains are longer. The only point to be added are that following the demise of British Rail the Regional Eurostar sets built to operate on the UK electified rail network north of London are now running only on SNCF Grande Lignes.

  52. Pauline Stephens

    Another point thats always got to me is the loss of Traincrew inter workings and route knowledge. These days its not unusual for special arrangements to be made for staffing with other companies or a severly restricted selection of routes availability for diversions.
    An example would be if the WCML was closed the old ideas of diverting as per a contingency plan: eg CP8 used to divert to St Pancras or Paddington from Euston. Now its buses for a long section, sometimes causing chaos and a definite worsenment of through passengers journeys.

    • Frank Nicholas Adam

      The backlog of track renewals after the failed Railtrack is in the equation regarding Network Rail, hence the need to invest in people in the rail industry for the safety of the travelling public. No more disasters such as cut backs have been partly responsible in the not too distant past, please.

  53. James Woodman

    Hi, it's been a few weeks since I've checked this site and if I may I'd like to comment on the topics of carriage design and seating.

    Regarding the latter, it is interesting to note that the XP64 train contained a small amount of face-to-back 'airline style' seating; the fact that this was not implemented in the Mk2 design suggests that it was not popular. Fast forward now to the 1980s when the accountants took over BR. The Mk3 coach had been designed with tracks running along the bottom and sides of the interior to which seats could be attached in any arrangement, and the bean counters soon sussed that by fitting the seats face-to-back more could be accommodated in each carriage. Thus it looks like this style of seating is here to stay, whether it's a nationalised railway operating on a shoestring budget or a private company maximising profits, and the passenger loses out.

    Regarding window size and the structural integrity of a carriage, the problem here is the the pen pushers who decide how safe things are have a tendency to think that a design is horrendously unsafe as soon as something better comes along. An extreme example is the Mk1 coach – the ultimate in crashworthiness in the 1950s but now banned from regular mainline working. Yet since the number of rail accidents has declined since then, this stock would actually be safer now than ever before….

    • The seats on all carriages need to be surrounding tables with compartments at each end for those who want to have private discussions. There also needs to be level loading so wheelchair users can board trains easily. There should also be a childrens playroom with a slide and games. The double decker waggons used by SBB have all these features, plus a good restaurant with real china plates and good service, and a buffet below.
      Trains need to run along the tracks all the way to the ferry ports so that passengers have just a short distance to the boats (as at Harwich international station). All stations need lifts and ramps so there is full mobility access at all times. Needless to say there should also be heated waiting rooms with televisions and internet terminals in every station.
      All this would earn money, and if seriously done would bring about a huge move back to the railways and a better society with transport for all and full employment.

  54. von Dawson's Ex

    Recently Our Lass and I went to Hastings from York via train. I would say I was impressed that we got to Hastings in 4 hours 15mins. The East Coast trip to London was painless, ten minutes or so walk to St Pancake to join the Hitachi Javelin – then it dawned on me, why oh why can't WE in the UK not build trains like that??? It was built in Japan, come on I want a answer but I wont get one, 140mph, so smooth, pleanty of room… Change at Ashford International (whats all that 'international' rubbish about?) then on to a South Eastern DMU, that was surprisingly good but it was built in Germany. Back next day, bit of a longer journey but the East Coast train was packed, uncomfortable, people stood THAT IS WRONG, what would have happened if there had been an accident… I dar'nt think…

    A extra train could have been put on, there was no excuse, you pay for a ticket, you should GET a seat, it's simple really… Even a idiot could run a train set better…

    Best wishes in your campaign, I saw a sticker on a sign next to a railway track while train spotting with a friend.


    von Dawson's Express

    • David Peacock MInstT

      Oh come on! The purpose of a railway company is to move passengers and goods from A to B. Who really gives a monkeys where the rolling stock was built!

      After all, most people I meet who favour re-nationalisation tend to possess a left of centre, pro European philosophy. Problem, when dealing with commercial contracts the scale of rolling stock orders, no favouritism could be shown to home builders. The clock is not going in back to the gory days of Crewe, Derby and others.

      France, Spain, Italy and Germany for your stock, like it or not!

      • von Dawson's Ex

        Oh come on you too, I live in York and have seen our railway manufacturing decimated (along with other companies in York) There is not one single person in York who would agree with your stupid leftist Eurocentric view, come up here, shout out what you have said in the middle of York and we will see how you get along…

        We CAN make our own rolling stock, locos and provide an excellent service and create work and jobs…

        Its stupid idea's like your's that's given us so many unemployed…

        Put your MInstTA to work…

      • Frank Nicholas Adam

        It is necessary to have capabality to produce rolling stock in the United Kingdom. The American philosophy of "more for less", has resulted in qualified people British and Commonwealth citizens being unemployed in the resepect to railways here.

      • Phil

        Really? How much non-domestic built stock are SNCF and DB using?!

    • David Peacock MInstT

      Mr.Von Dawson?

      I pleased to say that if you feel that you consider it necessary to rely on the efforts of the Great British Mob/Yob to silence me then my remarks stand up robustly against counter argument. I would be more then happy to have the courage of my convictions and to write such an article in the local York press complete with name and home address!

      If you had taken the time to read my comment you would have deduced that rolling stock building will not come back to the UK simply because the buyer is the state! I would not be allowed by Brussels and quite righty so.

      As for my MInstTA, It is not a qualification. It's a membership to a professional transport body. One that looks forward and not to the past!

      Think about that one.

      • von Dawson's Ex


        I am so sorry you believe I have taken such a stance i.e. the Yob Culture, but may I remind you, you fuelled it. I would also like to bring to your notice that York has suffered considerably from factories closing . York, like Crewe used to provide a very large number of jobs for people. Glass making, car parts manufacturing, confectionary, breweries, railways and (my trade) Instrument Making, it has all gone. I have lived next to the site of the York Carriage works for over 27 years, there have been new offices built (a good proportion of them empty) and some housing. There is also a very large field that attracts all sorts of problems. This was the site where rolling stock was built – it provided jobs and work and created a product the country used – it was taken over by a number of companies – German, US to name where they came from – they shut it down and shrunk the site – taking the work with them – fact not fantasy. It happened with my trade and others too, so now we buy products from abroad, sending our money abroad and investing abroad – fact – so, would you rather have people on the dole with a government supporting them with handouts than rather create jobs and work? I visited Crewe in 2008, have a look around your town. Ask the old folk about the past and what jobs they did, go in to a Social Club and ask, go on, try it…

        BTW the following may be of help ask for Steven Lewis and tell him Martin Dawson sent you and explain to the York people why it is better for them to be on the dole and not making products while we import from abroad…

        Regards and best wishes

        Martin Dawson

      • Alex

        Unfortunaltely in this case the past IS better.

    • David Peacock MInstT


      Before anyone starts to shed tears for York and the other railway towns, bear in mind I'm writing this in my living room. Not in leafy Surrey, but in South Cheshire.

      Yes, in a town called Crewe!

      • David Peacock MInstT


        Thanks for getting back and for your clarification. I will stick with my point that trashing all the good work that some of the TOCs have done, not all of then I hasten to add, simply on the off chance of a renaissance for BREL would be "pie in the sky." The demise of manufacturing goes back a long way.Yes it was in decline pre Mrs. Thatcher! We all forget that she inherited a very badly run network in most areas run from the union room and not the board room!

        The problem as I see it is, and this my sound nasty, but success is best driven forward when failure is a strong option. I'm sorry to say that too many people in this county for years ran against this mantra.

        Simply put a nationalised railway could not fail. Complacency would be endemic within 12 months. Thats why the return of BR would be a disaster.

        If a British builder could supply the goods, I'm the 1st to wish it well, but I'm not holding my breath!

    • Frank Nicholas Adam

      There are plenty of International Station appellations in the UK now that the CTRL is in operation: St Pancras International; Stratford International; Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International. Is Waterloo in that category now? The other ones are Harwich International and Birmingham International. Whilst some International stations are not given the name such as Dover Priory, some are closed such as Dover Western Docks (formerly Marine) and some have no station such as Belfast International Airport even though the railway is beside it.

      • Frank Nicholas Adam

        Perplexing station names must surely be Rosslare Harbour. British Rail and Sealink always called it Rosslare Harbour. Likewise Arriva Trains Wales and First Great Western and Stena Line Ferries. So Passengers traveling from say London Paddington, via Fishguard Harbour and Rosslare Harbour, can find the relevant timetables, including ferry information as they ought. However Passengers traveling from Waterford will have an Irish Rail timetable to Rosslare Europort, and the rail timetable does not have the ferry as it ought.

      • Frank Nicholas Adam

        Rosslare Harbour may have been given the name Rosslare Europort, to focus minds by station announcements to Dublin Connolly which is extremely busy, rather than to emphasis ferries to France as well as Wales, that run from Rosslare Harbour. That may be the case overtly, but it seems to be a covert political message as well to promote the euro, currency. There is strong and compelling case to rename Rosslare Europort, back to Rosslare Harbour. Passengers no doubt still get confused with Rosslare Strand but the astute staff on Irish Rail see that no one is stranded.

  55. david pennington

    i make a regular trip to torquay to pick my son up so i can spend some time with him as he was took away from, recently i have found out that it is impossible to get a train on a sunday back up to thge north west as for some reason the websites thsat i check for train times all say that there are no trains availible this gets on my nervous why should i have to suffer with there not being trains running on a sunday when they should have the same amount of trains running the same on a weekend as well as a week daay

  56. Phil

    I understand your reasons for the logo being reversed – but really, it just doesn't look right!

    The private railway is not more efficient. It is interested only in the bottom line, not providing any kind of a service. Why else would all of the 'main' players employ an army of people whose sole purpose is to argue about the attribution of delays – not to improve performance, just to save money. Bring back British Rail – and I do mean the BR of the 80's/90's!

    • Frank Nicholas Adam

      The presence of the German State owned railway DB in the UK has increased with Arriva Trains Wales/Trenau Arriva Cymru being taken over, and likewise Arriva Cross Country Trains. Achtung!

      Now that is one thing, but the Germans are often refered to sterotypically as 'efficient'.

      So the Major Government, spitefully called British Rail: "deeply inefficient".

      The question can be posed was British Rail deeply inefficient because it was an essentially a British institution?

      • Frank Nicholas Adam

        If political deals between various parties can occur to form a Government, such as with the devolved Governments in the Northern Ireland Assembly; The Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament, and now in the Westminster Government – 'In the National Interest'. Surely it is imperative that 'In the National Interest' that the railways are reunited into one organisation, track and trains!

    • Andrew

      I agree with Phil.

      I understand the argument 'it's different on purpose', and if it was simply a case of the colours being different I'd be fine with that. But the logo as it is now is inaccurate – it's meant to depict the trains on the left. Trains, like cars, keep to the left in this country. Unless we're proposing reversing the direction in which trains run, there's no need to change the direction of it.

      Furthermore, simply changing the colours would be fine, but changing the logo would (if implemented) require changing every sign and fingerpost pointing towards a railway station. I'd buy the merchandise if the logo was corrected!

      • Hi Andrew,

        Thanks for your comment. May I reiterate, we are not proposing changing the logo of British Rail (if it were to be reinstated), let alone the direction in which the trains travel around the country?! The logo you see on this website and on the merchandise is the logo of the campaign 'Bring Back British Rail' and is therefore different: a subtle twist on the original logo of British Rail. It would not make sense for a small campaigning body and a national rail network to have to have the same logo / identity, as they are very different organisations.

        Best wishes, Ellie Harrison

      • Chris Owen

        I'm another subscriber who would buy the merchandise were the logo issue addressed. I appreciate the intention but I think it would be lost on those viewing that insignia.

  57. Wonderful campaign.

    Love my badge.

    But a plea: Please make it clearer WHERE and HOW you sign the petition.

    The 'tag' at the end of this blog is misleading. It does not link to the petition.

    Please put in another link in your blog to take you to the petition

  58. Richard Winfield

    I found this website today thanks to a colleague. As a professional railwayman of 40 years experience next week, I have worked under BR and the present system. The sooner the railways are re-nationalised (preferably without compensation as the privateers have fleeced the passengers, the tax payers and the staff for far too long) the better it will be for all of us, rail user and non-user alike.
    Regarding the back to front logo, the reversed funnel originated as the port side markings on the funnels of BR (Sealink) ships. This enabled the top line of the logo always to face forward (except for the brief period of going astern into or out of ports). But then we had a fully integrated transport system with boat trains to the ports on both sides of the sea crossing.

  59. William Loneskie

    When Conservative MP the late Robert Adley stood up in the House of Commons to deliver a speech opposing rail privatisation, he held up a BR National Network Timetable, a magnificent book, and asked members to examine it before they tore it up. He warned that privatisation would be an expensive folly, describing it as a “poll tax on wheels”. Robert Adley was one of the last of the one-nation Conservatives who placed country before personal profit. Later he would say about the Commons “there is an increasing army, frankly, of spivs around this place, some of whom seem to be able to attract the services of MPs for piddling sums of money, who are responsible in my view for perverting this place.” As often happens, years have to pass before the secret deals, the lobbying, and the theft emerge into the light of day. Recently, the self-aggrandisement of MP’s has been well-documented. Perhaps, soon, we will discover in detail how the finest rail network in the world was maligned, under-funded, and then broken up and given away to the spivs and speculators.

  60. William Loneskie

    Perhaps backbench MP's in the new ConLib government should reflect on the words of award-winning journalist Andrew Gilligan who wrote:"Now is the moment to renationalise the railways and it has never been cheaper or more possible. Rather like the banks, many of the companies which hold Britain's rail franchises will soon become disastrously over-extended. They have contracted to pay massive sums to the Government for the right to operate trains, assuming that passenger numbers would continue to grow strongly and that fares could continue to rise well above inflation. In a recession, both those assumptions look highly questionable but the [previous Labour] Government has said that franchises will not be renegotiated. What that means, if ministers stick to their guns, is that some of the most justly hated companies in Britain, First Great Western, Virgin Trains, SWT will have no option but to give back the keys. The franchises will revert to the state, and it won't cost taxpayers a penny.
    The stations, tracks and signals are already in public hands. And thus, with a few exceptions, we could restore the railways to single ownership, a single command structure, and sanity. The only thing holding ministers back is their terror of the N-word but after spending £37 billion on partly nationalising the banks, that Rubicon has surely been crossed. In recognition of a crisis even more serious than the economy's, the Government announced a new target of reducing C02 by four-fifths. If we are to meet it, one absolute necessity is a railway that runs as an integrated network, that functions seven days a week and that does not charge you more than it costs to travel by car."

    Alas however, it is more than likely that the Neo-Cons who have gained control of the Conservative Party and their "Liberal-Democrat" associates who subscribe to EU de-nationalisation, will look more to asset-strip Network Rail for their chums in the TOC's than taking the opportunity of returning Britain's railways to Britain. Nevertheless there are still many good men and women true throughout Britain who will place country before profit and we place our trust in them.

    • Pauline Stephens

      It would be a good time to have a re-think on how the railways are set up, bearing in mind passenger numbers, recesion, requirement of the TOC's to pay more as the years go by. How and by what is the question. The shareholders require more that 1p per share if sold off. Perhaps the infrastructure should be included into the TOC franchise done on the larger scale of regions to a far fewer number of operators and for longer perioods eg 25 years. Not quite BR but a sensible approach to get rid of a few current ways. The only operating area to suffer would be Cross Country services, but with a bit of common sense this could be easily solved..The areas easily fit into current ways of operation..Southern, Great Western, Wales, West Coast, MML, ECML, Anglia and Scotland. Local services would be operated by the main line operator and planned connections may again be more reliable. The overall picture would be overseen by the ORR (in a new more powerful guise). That would bring back the complete non fragmented system weithout the need to re-nationalise and giving a more cohesive operating and commercial set up. The franchise conditions, stock and access right would be left upto the individual operators. Freight would also guranteed paths but all this would be flexible with agreemant between companies. The ORR would enforce a decision if it was a case of overall betterment.
      This allieviates the need to buy out current major players in the industry who may well welcome more freedom and decision making internally instead of drawn out discussions between companies.
      Any thoughts…its not perfect but a step in a new direction

  61. James Woodman

    Yes, it is indeed possible to renationalise the railways by simply sitting back and waiting for the present companies to go to the wall, but it would be messy, inefficient, incomplete (with awkward little franchised operators who were the success stories of the current regime, like Chiltern Railways), and would take years before any benefits become apparent.

    I tend to agree with Pauline's solution. What is needed is a new Railways Act and to go down the 'vertically integrated' path. I would suggest a setup along the lines of the old 'Big Four', perhaps with a separate company for Scotland and possibly Anglia as well (a Welsh company would by impractical by virtue of the country having segregated north and south systems and a long straggly line in the middle, connected only by the English network – Dr. Beeching saw to that!).

    Each company would have a notional paper split between infrastructure and operations to keep the EU muppets happy, and freight traffic could indeed continue to be run by companies paying track access charges (it should be noted that things were very different in the days of the old 'Big Four', where, apart from a few lines in the Southeast, freight constituted the lion's share of rail traffic).

    There would need to be a modern equivalent of the Railway Clearing House to enforce a standard fares structure (to ensure that no part of the country is disadvantaged), to allocate revenue from between-company journeys accordingly, and most importantly, to ensure compatibility between all new builds of rolling stock (something which went out the window when passenger stock dispensed with buffers and is of little consequence to today's operating structure).

    This way, with companies owning track, trains, main, secondary and branch lines, we should hopefully see not only increased private sector investment and a fall in the level of subsidy needed, but also some healthy and geniune competition, particularly where companies rub shoulders with each other. Think of London-West Midlands and London-Exeter and beyond. Former main lines considered unnecessary and rationalised in the 1960s could be subject to electrification and 125mph running. The demand is there and is on the increase; can anything other than vertically integrated companies respond to it?

    Of course, I would still like to see renationalisation in my heart of hearts, but I realise that our railways are now operating in an economical and social climate like no other in their 180-year history. The above solution does seem to me to be a win-win situation.

    • William Loneskie

      "An economic and social climate like no other in their 180 year history".

      1. The UK now is wealthier than we have ever been.The "economic crisis" is not one of the real economy and is being deliberately talked up.
      2. After WW2 Britain was on its knees, as were the railways.
      3. Yet the Labour Government was able despite the devastation of the war and the bankrupcy of the country to rebuild the railways (and the country) using nationalisation and economic macro-management.
      4. The advantages of rail nationalisation include:
      a) economy of scale
      b) avoidance of wasteful duplication
      c) a unified timetable
      d) freight and passenger integration
      e) political integration
      This website is devoted to bringing back British Rail, not making privatisation work better.

      • James Woodman

        Firstly, thanks for correcting my 'economical' to 'economic' – I only noticed this after I had posted the comment!!

        A comparison of the UK railway system in 1947 and in 2010 is meaningless; it's chalk and cheese.

        The petition has closed and let's face it, 2060 signatures was never going to set the world on fire. We all agree that the present form of disjointed, inefficient 'Rip-Off Railways' cannot be sustained, but we must accept that full renationalisation is extremely unlikely. Surely a step in the right direction is better than maintaining the status quo, and surely 'making privatisation work better' is just that?

    • Bringing back the full British rail network is essential for our competitiveness and future.
      Other countries (like Switzerland, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands) have reliable integrated public transport. This means people do not essentially needs cars and the living costs are therefore lower. For business travel a dependable public transport network is essential. Many people in the UK cannot get to work and business people have to pay more to do business here as a company car is often required. Families are hit hard by the withdrawl of many family railcard offers (it did offer half price for the first adult then one pound return trips for the rest of the family). Also the withdrawl of railway ferries has made international travel out of reach for many families. The reopening of branch lines (all of them) would bring us back to a globally competitive position so the UK could compete with Switzerland. It is outrageous that the government gave money to banks and now expects us to pay for their mistakes while vital investments that would bring back millions of jobs and make the UK competitive are not taken. Bring back British rail, British rail ferries and reopen all the branch lines.

  62. Brian Racher

    As one who works "within" the industry I know that many of the TOC's are those that got fat on the privatisation and asset stripping of the UK bus industry. These same companies claim they cannot run trains (or buses) without subsidy, yet are still able to post massive profits each year. I smell more than a few rats here. The old British Rail advertised that it was "getting there", and it probably would have done if it had not been strangled of investment since it's creation in 1948 by successive government individuals who's interests lay elsewhere (Marples, Thatcher etc).
    Rather than invest in the system, Beeching was told how much to axe. BR was left to take all the bad press, and try to make a success of what was left. This it managed to do for the most part, at fares which were realistic and affordable, unlike the current situation where it is cheaper to travel by car.
    BR knew and understood it's infrastructure – it did
    not make the mistake of ordering trains that did not fit platforms or made demands on the 3rd rail system which it could not supply. Nor did it have internal costs on the scale of the present inter-company fiasco of today. So yes, what we need now
    is a return of British Rail, in whatever form it may take, to get everything back under one roof.
    Heritage Railways work this way, and look at what
    success they enjoy. Carry on the fight!

  63. Alex

    Hi. I fully support this, BR was broken up (badly) in the 90's to satisfy some ideological political dogma rather than what was best for passengers. The way BR used to be able to fund such things as the HST project on such limited finances is nothing short of miraculous. It designed, developed and built its own rolling stock and ran its own timetable. Yes we moaned, but it *worked*.

    In order to have a fully integrated transport system, they also need to bring back the National Bus Company. The train would take people to the end of the line or whatever station they got off at, then outside there would be a bus or tram waiting.

    • Brian Racher

      In an ideal world we would have an integrated transport system. Simple, straightforward and easy to reach your destination. It should be attractive enough to leave your car at home, thereby helping to save the planet. Such a system would be there for the benefit of the passenger (I dislike the term "customer"). Many countries around the world operate such a system, and it works well. But we have lost that possibility with the abolition of BR and the NBC. Everything is now is driven by an obsessive need to generate
      maximum profit with as little investment as possible. (How much longer can inherited BR rolling stock last?). I'm getting sick and tired of how the TOC's bleat on about how they are doing their best to cater for the travelling public, which they are clearly not. The fares structure is at best confusing, overpriced and unrealistic. They all have their own idea about what constitutes peak
      hours – anything to fleece the public. (I felt sorry for the chap from the ATOC trying to justify that one on the TV). Everything is geared to boost revenue and profit, but when that fails (National Express) just walk away from it. That is proof, if proof were needed, that the present situation is driven purely by the obsessive need for profit and
      keeping the shareholders happy. The needs of the passenger are not considered – they are only important as the source of revenue.
      Network Rail was set up as a "not for profit" organisation – a re-vamped BR could operate the same way in partnership, or as part of the whole
      structure. At least it would all be under one big
      coherent roof. Integrating Rail with buses would
      be a challenge because of the hundreds of bus companies, large and small, but local or National
      Government could exert some control here to
      unify the system. Above all let's do away with the
      crazy fragmented profit driven situation we have today, and make rail travel a definate and affordable alternative to the car. The only way to achieve this is BRING BACK BRITISH RAIL!!!!

    • A new Great British Rail is Central to the UK being OK for international meetings at the heart of Europe. With an integrated British railways system, connected to all the excellent international cruise ferry links to Ireland, Denmark, France, Belgium and Holland we will truly be at the centre of the map. We can win business from germany and France and regain our competitive edge with full employment and high wages. This is only possible if Britain can offer a compelling public infrastructure with a public railway and bus network running at least an hourly service to everywhere in Britain and connecting well to the overneight ferries so business travellers can easily enjoy a visit to the UK and be OK sleeping well on the ferry, enjoying the train ride on our green and pleasant land and making the UK the centre of international business with social inclusion thanks to a public railway so everyone can get to work easily.

  64. Richard

    Just been reading about a protestor's campaign of the usual 'not in my back garden' argument to stop HS2 being built.

    I was just wondering what the general consensus with this organisation is in regards to HS2. I follow support the building of a high speed rail network but could not find any pro HS2 pressure groups out there to ensure there is a voice for the argument against these middle class Buckinghamshire landowners?

    • HS2 is a bit overdone I feel. We should not deel inferior to the French, after all the TGV is not so "Grand" it is very "petit" and infact very cramped and advance booking is needed. MUCH better is to BRING BACK BRITISH RAIL PROPERLY with an integrated public travel system like the Swiss Travel System. No need for super high speed, just reliable connections that do not need advance booking. Serving every village, like the SBB CFF FFS and with overnight connections for sleeping well ready to do do business when you wake up on the other side as in with integrated public transport we are all winners (and MUCH cheaper than high speed) and it serves everyone in every village, town or city (high speed is only an alternative to flying not a complete system to meet the travel needs of everyone). So lobby to Bring Back British Rail properly with integrated SeaLinks then we will all be happy !

  65. William Loneskie

    From The Daily Mail (10.10.10)
    "Britain's rail fares are the most expensive and complicated in Europe. No two journey tickets for the same journey seem to cost the same. And beware the small print. This week, we learned that a couple were fined £114 for getting off a train BEFORE their destination. Emma Clark and Davyd Winter-Bates were travelling home to Southampton but decided to disembark at Eastleigh to visit friends. They were told their tickets didn't allow them to vary their journey and they must pay an extra £57 each. What a way to run a public service."

  66. William Loneskie

    From the BBC News Website 19th September 2010

    " Southern Railway to axe toilets from new train fleet. "
    "RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said :
    "One and a half hours without any toilet facilities on board is unacceptable.The route has always had toilets on board in the past," he said. "This is the main connection between two major cities on the South coast." He said RMT was already set to ballot members of Southern Railway for industrial action after cuts to security led to an increase in assaults on staff."

    • David Peacock MInstT

      British Rail was a big user of non corridor stock for many years, as was it's big four predecessors, particularly the old Southern Railway. No milage in this one!

      One of the problems with toilets now is the need for one of them to be disabled friendly if supplied on a train. The DDA is generally good legislation, but at times it can result in things like this!

      If trains were DDA exempt like aircraft and coaches, would this have been proposed?

    • James Woodman

      Be careful here, this is nothing more than sensationalist drivel (sadly we can no longer rely on the BBC for factual reporting any more).

      The 'new' trains are actually 34 year-old inner London suburban units (Class 313) and are to be used only on the short legs from Brighton to West Worthing and Seaford. Other services will continue to use existing stock with toilets.

      "The route has always had toilets on board in the past."

      Really? Since the 1840s, Mr. Crow?

  67. Long time viewer / 1st time poster. Really enjoying reading the blog, keep up the good work. Will definitely start posting more oftenin the near future.

  68. James Woodman

    Railway history when itself viewed from a historical perspective is a fascinating thing. I have just finished reading 'BR in the Eighties' by David St. John Thomas and Patrick Whitehouse, a comprehensive account of the changes to the structure of BR during that decade which, being published in 1990, is unclouded by subsequent events.

    The big thing of the 1980s was of course Sectorisation and the formation of the 'business-led' railway. The Inter-City Sector was required to return a profit which indeed it did by the end of the decade. Now I would guess that 'profit' in this context is a euphemism for a payment to the Treasury, which would then hand out subsidies for the loss-making lines of the Provincial Sector. Can you see the embryonic form of today's set-up here?

    There were some major developments during the decade in the form of electrification and signalling schemes, station and line reopenings and new rolling stock, but faced with a government averse to spending and a notoriously anti-rail Prime Minister, BR was stretched as tight as a drum and had to face rising passenger numbers with a significant reduction in fleet size. Indeed, my own memories of the decade are of new but cramped rolling stock, the iconic 'pyramids' of locomotives and carriages at Vic Berry's scrapyard in Leicester – and fare increases by stealth. I had a Young Person's Railcard at the time and the abolition of long distance Day Returns (50% discount) and substitution with Savers (33% discount) hit me particularly hard.

    Combining these memories with the contents of the book, I have formed the opinion that the reorganisation of BR in the 1980s represented a greater seismic shift in our national rail system than the privatisation of the following decade, which was really little more than an exercise in job creation (managers, directors and assorted desk jockeys) and an attempt at curbing union power.

    The book concludes with a chapter on the Channel Tunnel, which was under construction at the time of publication. The final paragraph contains the following two sentences; history has shown the first to be completely off-target whilst the second is rather curious and I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions:

    "Given that there is no catastrophe (economic or otherwise), the 1980s ended with the fair certainty that the tunnel will be opened in 1993, with through seating and sleeping-car trains from many parts of Britain and an injection of freight traffic that could be the chief salvation of BR at the century's end. But in announcing details of the likely new trains on opening (well ahead of the likely completion of any new route through Kent about which arguments were set to continue well into 1990) the BR chairman once again emphasised that trains will be run for profit, not for the public's general benefit."

  69. With Zero Emissions rail travel british rail could help us reduce our CO2 emissions.
    A reliable railway network connects people in local towns and villages who will no
    longer need expensive petrol driven cars. This will make the UK more competitive.
    So, for great connections and a Zero Emissions UK Bring Back british Rail today !

  70. Ecclia

    I think it would be good for this campaign to have a Twitter account. It's a really good way of reaching out to more people and keeping them updated. I think it's more effective at this than Facebook and there are tonnes of other left-wing groups to network with.

  71. Matthew Peers

    Warrington Bank Quay to Ellesmere Port?

  72. Ewan

    the freight and trade in britain is not so good at the moment i think if british rail is brought back it will increase freight.

  73. Thom

    British Rail, So misunderstood, so unloved, They killed you… Who Replaced? Idiots! Thatcher saved you. Then they killed you, they replaced you. 15 years pass. We miss you, I miss you. You Must return, Where is British Rail? Where?

  74. mat fleming

    I think this campaign is great.

    The privatised railways make no sense for the passenger. Companies and managers make huge profits whilst passengers, taxpayers and workers are ripped off. Buying a ticket is a lottery and just not affordable except in advance, the stations are refurbed entirely for their commercial rentable value. Forget having an affordable sandwich or a lost property/left luggage service. Staff seem de-skilled, disenabled and demoralised. Phonelines appear to be set up to keep the passenger at bay. I don’t need to go on becasue anyone who uses the trains and pays their own fare knows all this stuff.

    Sure, the trains run well up and down the main arteries, but so what? that’s just part of their job. Altogether it’s not good enough and I can’t see the private sector ever can managing this. As well as bringing back BR I’d want the employees to have a big big voice in the management of it.

    I’d like to suggest a strategy for peaceful protest once the campaign has grown a bit. I suggest if one representative can be found to volunteer at each station to promote it there could be a day/weekend whereby passengers refuse to present their tickets to inspectors. Not a fare strike but a symbolic one. I hope this does not constitute using social media to promote illegality. I hate crime and love the train.

  75. Ben Walsh

    I would just like to say that I stumbled across this website by accident-and I’m very glad I did!
    It is about time we got a re-nationalised railway system-its been privatised for far too long-some operators are alright but others are not and the thing which governs the choice as to whether its a good operator is,wait for it,in 9 out 10 cases-money-and that is very wrong in what is supposed to be a PUBLIC service which SHOULD be accessible to all!

  76. john w conley

    Having worked on the Railway’s as a Ticket Office Clerk returning to BR would simplify all the Clerks jobs greatly and make it easier to fulfil the customers requirements without upsetting them by not being able to get those advertised lower fares cuz they have been sold withn minutes of being placed on the web for sale.
    Also it might make it easier for an ex railway worker to return to the job he loved but as he has moved to the other end of the country is finding it next to impossible to crack the first scotrail nut as even though i have applied for only jobs to do with ticketing to which i have over 3 years experience i have found no job after 15 different job applications unless any1 on scotrail reading this site knows how to beat the applicatrion process please bring back british rail so i can return to work on the railways i love but in a part of the country i love aswell

  77. Richard Tyndall

    For all that the current rail system has some problems I am afraid the idea that you could return to the British Rail set up of old – even if you wanted to – is a fantasy.

    The railways were privatized for political reasons. But the way in which they were privatized with a separate infrastructure operator and operating companies was because of EU law – specifically EU directive 91/440. This was designed to allow rail operating companies to provide extended services across the EU regardless of who owned the track. To ensure it was all done on a level playing field 91/440 made it illegal for the same company to own track and operate services. That was why the privatization was done in the way it was.

    Nothing has changed since then. Yes there are better ways to run railways but none of them in the EU are like old BR. They all have separate ownership of infrastructure and operations. That is what would have to happen even if you renationalised the UK railways.

    It is an impossible dream and any government doing it would be committing political suicide in the long term because the constraints imposed by the EU would mean there was no way to improve services (and of course by all measures the services have improved since privatization with the railways carrying vastly more people now than they did pre 1992.)

  78. Peter S

    In reply to Richard Tyndall 25 July 2012 at 15:59

    The railways are probably carrying more people due to the vastly increased population over the past 10-15 years, with some estimates putting it as high as 80+million.

    Have rail passenger journeys increased in percentage of population terms ? I doubt it.

    My big concern at present is the huge increase in lorries on our roads and not all of them are built to the required standards (lacking impact bars etc).

    Roughly one lorry per day overturns on our roads. If railways suffered the same accident and death rates that road freight does, they would have been closed down.

  79. Mayur Mehta


    I would suggest that we get this on the facebook as it will get much more response than 12K we got for the first petition.

    I seriously think that rail should be nationalised with one standard fare. Whether you buy in advance or on the platform just before the train or on the train from a ticket collector. This is quite common in Switzerland, India etc. This patter is quite acceptable and successful.

    Sometimes it feels is there anything that really belongs to British Government ??? I mean, Does government really want to own any responsibility for the nation.

    Railway – privatised,
    National Coach service – Owned by National Express Group ( Private Firm)
    Security – Outsourced (G4S)
    No National Bank – Ooops they just have stake in (RBS, Lloyds – HBOS).

    I wonder what next can be privatised ???

  80. I came across this yesterday. A fine campaign bit one sadly facing an uphill struggle against politicians who cannot see what is opbvious to everyone else. I will be writing more about railways on my blog

    • bringbackbritishrail

      Thanks Peter! We exist to popularise the idea of renationalisation, so please spread the word as much as you can.

  81. George Odlum


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