Railways are a necessary public service.
In 1960, when Prime Minister Harold Macmillan announced the railways should pay their way, he was wrong.
The Beeching cuts that followed damaged the opportunity for growth.
The Queen re-opened one part of one of the rail lines shut under Beeching on September 9.
As a result of the cuts our roads are overcrowded.
Our town centre shops are in decline. Our quiet suburban streets are now full of parked cars. Children can no longer play there.
We import enormous quantities of oil and petrol.
We buy too many foreign cars.
These are both to the detriment of our country’s visible balance of payments.
We are far too tangled up in Middle Eastern politics because we rely too much on cars.
Obesity is at epidemic proportions. Margaret Thatcher introduced the counter-productive franchise operation system we have at present.
East Coast main line railways returned a profit for the Treasury when there was no franchisee in place recently.
For ideological reasons this Government insisted the line should be offered for franchise again.
Ticket prices went up.
This Government’s suggestion Network Rail should be privatised is ideologically driven and politically reminds me of the poll tax fiasco.
I am all for a people’s railway. Re-lay some more tracks and don’t privatise Network Rail.