Off the Rails: Britain's Great Rail Crisis : Cause, Consequences and Cure

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Verso, 2001 - Political Science - 198 pages
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Britain's rail network ground to a halt in the months following the fatal Hatfield crash in October 2000. Widespread speed reductions on potentially unsafe track caused the system-wide delays and months of enormous inconvenience for passengers.

In these pages Andrew Murray investigates the rail fiasco with the authority and access available only to an industry insider. He traces its origins back to the disastrous decision to privatise the system in 1994 and examines the way the necessary legislation was forced through parliament, in the face of considerable public opposition. British Rail was sold off in one hundred different pieces by John Major's government and Murray looks at the legacy of this approach today: a Byzantine structure of competing companies, squabbling about their own interests whilst regularly failing to serve those of the public.

Off the Rails draws extensively on the testimony of those working on the railways the train drivers, maintenance workers, signalers, station staff and passengers' representatives who have been forced to battle through the recent crisis. The result is a highly readable and authoritative account of a continuing national disgrace and an eloquent plea for the only strategy that cane put things right: the renationalisation of the system a move supported by 76 per cent of the British public but still stubbornly resisted by Labour ministers.
  

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Contents

The One Hundred Piece Railway
22
Three Hundred Pieces of Rail
51
Sweat and Tears on the Tracks
79
Sorry Is Not Enough
115
Return Ticket To Public Ownership
146
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About the author (2001)

Andrew Murray is Communications Officer for the train drivers union ASLEF. He is the author of Flashpoint: World War 3, and Off the Rails: The Crisis on Britain's Railways.

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