‘Ghost trains’ on British railways

The rail service in the UK tends to have a bad press.  It’s often described as under-funded, over-priced, and overcrowded.   In reality, train companies probably do an awful lot better than the media portrays.   However the privatisation of the railways has always been contentious, made more so by the bankruptcy of Railtrack in 2001.  The system that was set up was very complex, and still is – with Network Rail owning and maintaining the rail infrastructure, rolling stock operating companies (ROSCOs) owning the trains, more than 20 train operating companies running the trains, and other companies responsible for special aspects of the industry, such as engineering, European services and so on.

It is often this complexity that leads to many strange practices – one of which is so-called ‘ghost trains’.   These are trains that run only once a week, and which most passengers know nothing about – hence they run mostly empty.   This video explains why and how this has come about…

PS Having just published this blog, I came across this video in which a labour spokesperson discusses reforming the rail system in the UK.  It neatly goes over some of the issues referred to above.

This entry was posted in Chap 07 Capacity and demand, Sector: Public Services & Charities and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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