Rebuilding Rail (2012)
In 2011 ASLEF and the other rail unions commissioned academic experts from Transport for Quality of Life to examine Britain’s privatised railways and come up with some practical recommendations for how the railways could be returned to public ownership. The researchers found that the taxpayers are not getting value for money from the substantial sums of public money which are invested in the railways every year. The report highlighted that, since privatisation the amount of public money going into the railway has increased from around £2.4 billion per year before privatisation (in the period 1990/91 to 1994/95), to approximately £5.4 billion per year in the period 2005/06 to 2009/10 (all at 2009/10 prices).
The researchers attributed the cost increases to fundamental problems with the complex privatised railway structure created by the Conservative Government in 1994. Key factors include: increase in cost include higher interest payments in order to keep Network Rail’s debts off the government balance sheet; debt write-offs; costs arising as a result of fragmentation of the rail system into many organisations; profit margins of complex tiers of contractors and sub-contractors; and dividend payments to private investors. Taken together, these represent a cumulative cost since privatisation of more than £11 billion of public funds, or around £1.2 billion per year. This should be considered a minimum figure, as it includes only those costs which may be most readily quantified.
To put these figures in context, if all unnecessary costs were eliminated and the resultant saving was used entirely to reduce fares, it would equate to an across-the-board cut in fares of 18% (or a substantially larger cut in fares that are price-regulated because of their social importance).
Rail Cymru (2012)
In this report, commissioned by ASLEF and the Co-operative Party, rail academic Professor Paul Salveson examines the Welsh rail franchise and the benefits of increasing employee engagement
Going Local (2013)
In 2013 ASLEF asked the Campaign for Better Transport to look at the benefits of locally specified concessionary contracts with particular reference to London Overground and Merseyrail. The report can be found here.
The Great Train Robbery (2013)
Academics from the University of Manchester found that the privatised rail system relies upon billions of pounds of hidden subsidies and has failed to bring in private investment. The TUC commissioned research by the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC), found that the policy has artificially boosted private profits of the privately owned Train Operating Companies.
A People’s Railway for Scotland (2013)
Professor Paul Salveson explored the benefits of increasing worker involvement in the running of Scotland’s railways in this report commissioned by ASLEF and the Co-operative Party.