Northern rail

Don’t abandon privatisation because of Northern Rail

Jeremy Corbyn likes to say that he ‘won the argument’ at the last general election, where he argued – amongst other things – for the re-nationalisation of the railways. It was a popular policy. Today, as if on cue, the government announced that Northern Rail is being taken into public ownership, stripping Arriva Rail North of the franchise. So what’s going on? Should we now regard rail privatisation as a failure? For a start, we don’t have privatised rail. We have a hybrid system created under John Major, with private firms running (but not owning) the trains, and a notorious state-run Network Rail owning the track – its failures are

Ross Clark

In defence of Northern Rail

What a joy it is to travel on trains in Germany, where services are fast, efficient and always seem to arrive on time. Why can’t we have Deutsche Bahn running our own trains, rather than those imbeciles at Northern Rail, whose slovenly late-running services using rattling old rolling stock from the 1980s were so bad that its services are to be nationalised from 1 March? Oh, but hang a minute. Deutsche Bahn already is running those trains. Northern Rail’s parent company, Arriva, is a subsidiary of the German state railway company. In which case the question becomes: why can a company that seems to manage to run rail services in