Transport 2000 has tried to stimulate the argument over what the future of the railways with its report The Railways: Where do we go from here?

Authors looked at five different ways forward.

Evolution not revolution. An industry agreement on what the goals should be. Government to take a direct interest in Railtrack and should refocus on engineering and operations. Establish a research and development capability. Open up expansion of the network to financial and technical input to others.
Jim Steer, managing director, Steer Davies Gleave

Renationalise. Pay Government public sector obligation grant and access charges direct to Railtrack. Railtrack to be taken into public ownership by the Government issuing interest-bearing bonds to replace shares. Government or SRA to take control of Railtrack. Rail franchises taken over by the SRA once existing franchises end. Infrastructure contractors to be absorbed back into Railtrack.
Jimmy Knapp, general secretary, RMT

Regionalisation. Based on the German system. Democratic control of rail services. Control of co-ordination, interchange and ticketing for all public transport modes. Full involvement of the private sector as part of a wider, integrated whole. Finances channelled through directly accountable bodies, not through private companies trying to make profits.
Professor John Whitelegg, Liverpool John Moores University

Power to train operators. More vertical integration with train operators controlling their own infrastructure but with the infrastructure in public ownership and some functions, like network operation, infrastructure renewals, property management and network enhancement being handled by Railtrack.
Richard Brown, ATOC chair and National Express chief executive

Railtrack Trust. Railtrack should become a non-profit making trust with access to private capital via bond issues.
John Ward and John Earwaker, Oxford Economic Research Associates

Simplification. Reduce the seven Railtrack zones to five. Longer term maintenance contracts. Ideally one contractor per zone.
Roger Ford, editor, Rail Business Intelligence and technical editor, Modern Railways

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