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Rail privatisation has finally run its course and almost certainly failed

Anne Johnstone is spot on with her analysis of the rail privatisation fiasco ("What will it take to get railways back on track?", The Herald, August 30).

Clearly, the rail privatisation experiment has run its course and failed almost completely. Subsidies have doubled along with costs and productivity has not improved as it should, hence the intervention of the McNulty review to spell out what the private sector should have done, but didn't. The whole mess is reminiscent of the emperor's new clothes, where no-one in Government is daring to say that privatisation has failed, and failed miserably.

As for the West Coast main line, the feeling of déja vu is striking, with recent history on the East Coast showing us what we are in for. Unrealistic bids with all the payback in the latter part of the franchise means that operators hand in the contract when the going gets too tough and unrealistic.

In particular, I would question whether the growth in passenger numbers is physically possible, given the constraints of the congested West Coast line, with limited platform lengths and paths available until High Speed 2 is built. Virgin's growth has taken up most of the spare capacity, hence the approval for HS2 from London to Birmingham.

On the question of re-nationalisation , I would point out that we already have it in Network Rail and Directly Operated Railways Ltd, otherwise known as East Coast.

Arthur Homan-Elsy,

55 Deanburn Road, Linlithgow.

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