Sunday, September 20, 2020

BRITISH RAILWAYS: 

The Total Rail network of UK is 15811 KMS( 5374 KMS electrified). 2566 railway stations. 

On January 1, 1948, the railways were nationalized and British Railways was created, under the overall management of the British Transport Commission, later the British Railways Board. 




British Rail was privatised between 1994 and 1997, involving the transfer to a series of private-sector operators of responsibility for the provision of services under contract. In all, more than 100 companies took over from British Rail. In 2001 the track operator Rail track went bankrupt; it was reconstituted and renamed as Network Rail a private company with no legal owner but effectively government-controlled via its constitution and financing. The United Kingdom government continues to invest in the railways, financing, for example, the acquisition of some Inter City rolling stock. 

The positive impact of privatization is disputed, with passengers numbers more than doubling and increasing customer satisfaction balanced with worries about the level of rail subsidies and criticism of the fact that much of the system is now contracted out to subsidiaries owned by the state owned railways of France, Germany and the Netherlands. 

Only 20% of Southern trains arrived on time in the year from April 2015 to March 2016, and there was an ongoing industrial dispute over driver-only operated trains. In June 2016, amongst criticism of the performance of its services, Go-Ahead warned of lower than anticipated profits on its Govia Thameslink Railway franchises, leading to 18% drop in the Go-Ahead share price. 

Almost two thirds of Britons would like to see the country’s railways brought back into public ownership, according to a survey for The Independent. 

The poll, carried out by BMG, found that 64% of people supported renationalising British railways, while 19% were opposed. 

The UK has partially nationalised its railways as a temporary measure battling the coronavirus crisis. Rail freight remains in commercial hands, while the UK government has taken charge of the passenger rail network. All commercial franchisees have been suspended for at least six months. 

The British rail network has been distributed to private parties through concessions. These concessions have now been lifted for at least six months. The UK government assumes all operating risks. The rail operators still receive compensation for running trains. 

The joint decision, between government and train operating companies, also enables important freight services to continue, ensuring sector can support movement of goods and supplies while passenger services continue for those most at need, says the statement. “Government and rail operators across the UK agree reductions in service levels following reduced passenger demand as people change their travel patterns to help tackle spread of COVID-19”, says a government statement from the Department for Transport. 

The number of companies with an interest in operating Britain’s franchised train services has diminished over the last decade, as government has cranked up its payment/risk management requirements and the overcrowded nature of the rail network has left less room for “commercial innovation”. 

Given that passenger numbers have dropped by upwards of 70 per cent compared to this time last year, it was inevitable that many of the franchise holders – several of which were already on the brink of collapse thanks to over-eager bidding and delayed infrastructure delivery – would default on their payments to government. 

The public image of rail travel was severely damaged by a series of significant accidents after privatisation. These included the Hatfield accident. caused by a rail fragmenting due to the development of microscopic cracks. Following this, the rail infrastructure company Railtrack imposed over 1,200 emergency speed restrictions across its network and instigated an extremely costly nationwide track replacement programme. The consequent severe operational disruption to the national network and the company's spiralling costs set in motion a series of events which resulted in the collapse of the company and its replacement with Network Rail, a state-owned, not-for-profit Company. According to the European Railway Agency, in 2013 Britain had the safest railways in Europe based on the number of train safety incidents.

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