John Welsby, chairman of British Rail, which is now a holding company for unsold assets, last night attacked the privatised railway industry in a lecture to industry professionals. Mr Welsby, who is advising the Government on re-regulating the nation's railways, said: "Performance, far from continuing to improve, has actually deteriorated. The failings are not isolated local ones, but are spread across the country."
Performance on many of the railway's highest-profile routes had been poor, he said. West Coast, run by Virgin, and Great Western, bought out by its management, had run fewer trains on time than under BR. The rail industry had to "start producing tangible benefits for the travelling public from the funds that are flowing into it".