British Rail sale should stop, says the first person actually to buy a part of it ...

THE FIRST man to buy part of Britain's railways says privatisation will result in ticket price increases of up to 40 per cent, and the sell- off should stop.

Peter Waterman, who made his fortune promoting pop music, bought British Rail's Special Trains Unit, which runs charters such as football specials, on 1 April. But just a fortnight later he says that privatisation is not working in its present form and the sell-off will mean drastically higher costs for rail operators and passengers.

"I would not privatise the rolling stock, it belongs to the nation," he said. "Railways should be a monopoly. Throughout history attempts to break it up haven't worked."

Mr Waterman, who began his career as a British Rail fireman in Wolverhampton and has maintained a lifelong interest in trainspotting, said he bought the loss-making Special Trains Unit to save it from certain closure after 31 March this year.

"There was no provision for public subsidies. It is a pure act of faith to save a part of the railway's history," he said.

The Department of Transport said that Mr Waterman, formerly part of the successful Stock, Aitken and Waterman record-producing trio, paid £1.25m for six diesel locomotives, 200 coaches and a customer list for the chartered train business.

But Mr Waterman says that he has "been stuffed" and is being priced out of the market by cost rises of up to 79 per cent for track access, train crews, and maintenance work for the STU's 800 annual chartered train journeys. At current costs journeys such as the Land Cruise weekend trips around Scotland are no longer viable, even at £600 per head for passengers, excluding food.

In an interview published in Public Finance magazine this week he says: "I am angry because we have been dragged to 1 April by political dogma and it doesn't matter who we have tried to talk to to explain privatisation is not working. Somebody soon is going to understand how much this is going to cost people. We are looking at a 30-40 per cent rise in ticket prices."

"We thought that by the time we had got into privatisation all the other companies would be there, and the reality of the Railway Act would have got through to the DoT and the Government and they would have had to change certain things."

Mr Waterman said the business had a £6.25m turnover in 1993/94 but a loss of £4m was forecast. He warned that breaking up BR into 25 operating firms would lead to private firms making profits from public money.

He said: "If I was in the business of making money out of railways, I'd buy the West Coast Main Line. A buyer will just take the Government subsidy and the money and then drop it. The operators will be tripping over money. But I wouldn't touch it. It's immoral."

The Labour Party has challenged rail privatisation, but Mr Waterman said the MPs were "asking the wrong questions".

Arts and Entertainment
TVShow's twee, safe facade smashed by ice cream melting scandal
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
tv
Life and Style
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Actor, model and now record breaker: Jiff the Pomeranian
Video
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
News
i100
News
Down time: an employee of Google uses the slide to get to the canteen
scienceBosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Bristol

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £35000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Teacher

£130 - £131 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Ks1 teacher required for m...

Project Manager (infrastructure, upgrades, rollouts)

£38000 - £45000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...

MI Analyst and SQL Developer (SQL, SSAS, SSRS)

£28000 - £32500 Per Annum + 28 days holiday, pension, discounts and more: Clea...

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?