LETTERS: A private line to nowhere

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The Independent Online
Some of Sir George Young's accusations against British Rail might have been true during the 1950s and 1960s, but the change to accommodate the needs of the public brought about great improvements in the 1980s. Better ticketing, railcards in London and the South-east, better services and passenger awareness were only a few of the marketing aspects that made great strides in recent years. New trains and faster journey timesare also changes giving passengers more advantages.

However, this is not sufficient for the Conservative government for whom privatisation is its most important policy. The word "passengers" has gone and the railway now uses "customers". They are not provided with a public service, but are subjected to the results of team games, derived from splitting up a national network into companies which do not co-operate with each other. This is so important in the eyes of the Tories.

Whether privatisation works remains to be seen but the minister's opinion is not shared by many people. In a few years' time many more customers may have forsaken rail travel and taken to their cars to increase the already serious road and environmental problems.

Michael W George

Reading, Berkshire