This book discusses the railways under nationalisation and privatisation and puts forward new ways of overcoming the fragmentation, increased costs and higher fares that have become a feature of Britain’s privatised railways.
Railways have always been at the heart of British politics, from their early beginnings in the 1830s through to the present day. And the sharpest debates have been on the issue of ownership and accountability.
Arguing against the return to a centralised ‘British Rail’, Salveson instead suggests a new model which goes with the flow of current plans to devolve rail responsibilities within the English regions. The author was the originator of the highly successful community rail movement, and he argues for more direct involvement of local communities in their railways. He outlines recent examples of local social enterprises bringing thriving services back to semi-abandoned stations, and shows how Britain’s heritage railway sector has been a successful model for not-for-profit rail enterprise.
Combining historical analysis with personal experience and political theory, Salveson’s research suggests an alternative ownership system for the rail networks and a possible future for Britain’s transport system.
Introduction – FREE CHAPTER
1. The first railway age: the private railway 1830-1948
2. Challenging the railway barons
3. The railways under state ownership
4. A botched privatisation
5. Passenger power: campaigns and representation
6. The community rail achievement
7. The sustainable branch line
8. The national network: is high speed the answer?
9. Railways in the twenty-first century: beyond Britain
10. Radical alternatives
11. How it might look in practice: a people’s train operating company
‘This book sets out an alternative vision for the future. It should be read by any politician serious about reforming our railways to deliver a better deal for fare-payers and tax-payers.’
Maria Eagle, Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
‘There is little doubt that the privatisation of our railways has been an unmitigated disaster. A wide ranging debate is now taking place on how best we can run them in the interests of passengers and taxpayers rather than shareholders. Paul Salveson’s book is a thoughtful contribution towards this debate.’
Manuel Cortes, General Secretary, TSSA
‘This new, highly political book brings together important themes and concepts developed by the author over the last 20+ years through his extensive back catalogue of research publications and literature on rail policy and communities. However it is much more than that. The author has consistently practised what he has researched through direct engagement and leadership within the rail and communities sector, and as such
RAILPOLITIK not only reflects core concepts of ideology, aspiration and hope, but does so through a practical, operational understanding of the reality of the current rail environment.’
‘The book is a stimulating and genuinely interesting think piece. It knows the challenges it faces, and is clearly very political, conceptual and ambitious in its delivery. And rightly so. In an era where all political parties know the failures of the current system, but have no vision to make it better, it is a welcome antidote to the policy vacuum.’
Andrew Seedhouse, Centre for Sustainable Transport, Plymouth University, Journal of Transport Geography 41