LONDON (Reuters) – The British government is renationalizing the rail route between London and Edinburgh, taking back the line from a private company after it over-estimated profits, in a step likely to reignite a debate over public ownership of the UK’s railways.
The government said on Wednesday it was scrapping the contract with London-listed Stagecoach five years early and would operate the line, which carries 22 million people annually, for 2-3 years before setting up a new public-private partnership.
Time - Flagship - Route - English - Capitals
It is the third time since 2007 that the 393-mile flagship route between the English and Scottish capitals has been returned to government hands after contracts failed, giving ammunition to the opposition Labour party which opposes privatization.
The Labour party has pledged to nationalize industries like rail and water, policies which have been popular in the polls, and which helped Labour deny the pro-privatization Conservatives a majority government at last year’s election.
Transport - Minister - Chris - Grayling - Parties
Transport Minister Chris Grayling tried to appeal to both parties on Wednesday with a promise that after a spell under government control, he would set up a new “partnership between the public and private sectors” to run the line.
The franchising model, also part of the reason for delays on a contract in the London area, has come under fire recently with a cross-party parliamentary committee calling it “broken” in April.
Rail - Union - Unite - Rail - Lines
Rail union Unite called for all rail lines to be nationalized.
“It would be best for the economy, the treasury and the hard-pressed rail traveler paying through the nose for their tickets, if ministers blew the whistle on rail privatization,” Unite rail industry officer Hugh Roberts said.
Rail - Services - Britain - Routes
Rail services in Britain were privatized in the 1990s with routes grouped...
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