Letter: Mad as ever

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The Independent Online
I am disappointed that Christian Wolmar, who has played such a leading role in helping to expose the absurdities of rail privatisation, should close the "Mad" series by saying that nostalgia for the days of British Rail is no solution. For decades BR has been continually re-organised in an attempt to improve efficiency. The current system is probably the worst ever from the point of view of delivering an integrated network. So why shouldn't the political parties be pressed to try for something better?

The Government may have tied us up for years, but what happened to the constitutional principle that a government cannot bind its successor? Privatisation may deliver improvements, but it is unlikely these will be the ones we need if railways are to play their rightful role in helping to rid our roads of traffic.

Bus deregulation was supposed to stimulate innovation. I estimate that out of what is needed, 10 per cent is due to local authorities, 87 per cent hasn't happened and 3 per cent is due to private operators. Is there any reason to think the record of private railway operation will be better?

Simon Norton