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".

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power