No TOC is profitable

10 September 2013

A leading academic has slammed the privatisation of Britain’s railways, pointing out that not one private train operating company would make a profit without having its snout in the public trough. Sukhdev Johal, Reader in the School of Management at Royal Holloway, University of London, and co-author of The Great Train Robbery: The Economic and Political Consequences of Rail Privatisation report for the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change at Manchester University, was speaking on a platform with ASLEF national organiser Simon Weller at a packed Action for Rail fringe meeting at the TUC.

He said: ‘No train operating company is profitable if you include direct and indirect subsidies. We give these TOCs so much scope to influence the shape of our industry. Can anyone give me a reason why a train operating company should exist? No one can ever answer that. They are like a mining company; they extract money from the system and they put nothing back. Let’s be clear here: it’s a giant scam.’

Sukhdev added: ‘We have a democratic deficit here. There is no business case for a privatised rail system, and the people in this country don’t want a privatised rail system. But the politicians aren’t listening. And then they wonder why people are losing faith in the political system!’

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