Save the Melksham Train
Archived Save the Train forum articles - 2005 to 2010. See below
Network Rail Seeks To Shunt Train Firms Aside - 2212/5142
Written by Lee on Tuesday, 8th May 2007

Network Rail is planning to "renationalise" the railways by taking control of stations and owning new rolling stock , according to senior railway executives (link below.)

Under proposals submitted to the Rail Regulator last month , Network Rail has suggested it could take control of the management of major stations across Britain , including Newcastle , York and Oxford , while taking over the maintenance of the rest of the 2,500-strong portfolio.

The state-backed network operator wants to take back control of stations and enter the rolling stock leasing business

At the same time the government-funded body is proposing to use its debt , which is backed by the state , to go into competition against the banks to fund the financing of new trains.

In a sign of the widespread concern over the issue , the Association of Train Operating Companies is to meet on Wednesday to discuss it. Train operators are concerned that the proposals go way beyond Network Rail's original remit and will move it further into profit-making areas such as retail outlets on stations and financing.

A senior executive at a train operating company , who asked not be named , said: "This is creeping nationalisation. The train operating company community is very resistant to what Network Rail is proposing.

"We see this as empire building. We would just be putting drivers on trains and taking the revenue risk. We would have to look very closely at whether the train operating companies would want to do that."

The issue of funding is the one that has led to most concerns about renationalisation. Although technically Network Rail is a private organisation owned by members of the public , financially it is underwritten by the Governmen t, leading many commentators to say it is a state body in all but name.

"They are going to have to put across bloody good arguments why they should do this," said a senior railway executive. "This is British Rail in all but name."

Network Rail is dangling the prospect of lower train fares in front of regulators as part of its proposals (link below.)

The Department for Transport claimed that the excessive profit being earned by the banks is

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Save the Train was the campaign to bring an approriate train service back to and through Melksham.

Most big contributors are still around writing at the Coffee shop forum where new members are very welcome.

The train has been saved - sort of - we have stepped back up from an unusable service to a poorish one but it's doing very well. We did that through setting up the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership. That fulfilled its early objectives; it has been taken over by local and regional government types who are now doing medium and long term work. The team from this forun can also be found at the Melksham Rail User Group (which was the Melksham Rail Development Group at the time these articles were written and we had no users.

We mustn't loose sight, though, that the train service remains poor and needs our community support in marketing and campaigning to keep it going in a positive direction ... and all the more so when we're expecting to find a different normallity once we get out of the Coronavirus Pandemic and head for zero carbon via the climate crisis. Yes, it's saved ... it's now a key community facility ... the need for enhancement and the strong and near-universal local support remain, and the rail industry and goverment remain slow to move and provide the enhancements even to level us up with other towns. Please support the Melksham Rail User Group - now very much in partnership rather than protest with the rail industry and local government, including GWR, TransWilts and unitary and town councils. And please use the trains and buses, and cycle and walk when you can.

-- Graham Ellis, (webmaster), February 2021

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