The privatisation of the British railway industry was a unique political and economic event. An integrated industry was broken-up into numerous component parts and sold off to private sector interests. The result was a highly fragmented industry that was structurally unsound and operationally dysfunctional. This authoritative volume presents an enlightening portrait of an industry that is less efficient, more costly and still more dependent on state subsidy today than its nationalised predecessor.
The nine chapters in this work present a comprehensive and rigorous evaluation of how and why the industry has become so dysfunctional and costly, supported by detailed financial analysis and industry examples.
Seven chapters comprise a series of peer-reviewed academic papers by Professor McCartney and Dr Stittle and published in leading international journals over the period 2004–2017 which analyse selected key segments of the privatised industry: where appropriate, updates are provided at the end of these chapters outlining developments since initial publication relevant to the analysis therein. Two chapters are published here for the first time: Chapter 7 reviews the performance of the freight sector, while Chapter 1 ‘bookends’ the volume by providing first, an account of how rail privatisation was conceived and implemented in the 1980s/90s, and then reviews the impact of the pandemic and the proposals of the Williams-Shapps White Paper of 2021 which, if enacted, will effectively end the Major government’s experiment.
Going far beyond the usual superficial analysis of the topic, this volume will be of significant interest to researchers and advanced students of accounting, economics, business history, transport studies, as well as industry and specialised business interests in transport and privatisation.
Chapter 1: A Privatisation too Far.
Chapter 2: ‘Engines of Extravagance’: The privatised British railway rolling stock industry.
Chapter 3: ‘Taken for a Ride’: The privatisation of the British railway rolling stock industry.
Chapter 4: ‘Carry on up the East Coast’— A case study in railway franchising.
Chapter: 5: ‘A Very Costly Industry’: The cost of Britain’s privatised railway.
Chapter 6: Accounting for UK rail freight track charges: privatisation, politics and the pursuit of private sector vested interests.
Chapter 7: The ‘success story’ of rail privatisation in Britain: Public policy and the rail freight industry.
Chapter 8: ‘Not our problem’: UK Government’s fiscal obligations towards the privatised railway network.
Chapter 9: Accounting for Producer Needs: The case of Britain’s rail infrastructure.