The EU's Destruction of Britain's Railways

When the British public suffers delays, cancellations and misinformation which are the usual fare served up on the British railways these days they are entitled to ask How has the country that invented rail travel come to this and who is to blame for the overpriced and under-performing system which we were promised would provide a better alternative to the old monolithic British Rail? The answer is simple and very predictable - the European Union.

EU directive 91/ 440 EEC

This European Union directive, issued on 29th July 1991, is the root cause of the current mess our railways are in. It is the basis of the disastrous privatisation programme that has reduced our rail network to the joke it has now become. Given the trials and tribulations suffered by the passengers, it is a joke in very poor taste.

The unelected bureaucrats who actually run the EU demanded that the train operations and infrastructure be separated, leading to the farce we now see is disfiguring our public transport and making the lives of those who are obliged to rely upon the trains a misery

This matter goes beyond British party politics because it was the Conservatives who initiated the change and it is the Labour Party that has presided over its continuing failure. Do not believe the protestations of the politicians who claim that the selling off of British Rail was intended to increase efficiency and give the public a better service. The driving force behind this debacle is the EU and the fact that our political class has surrendered their right to decide on these matters to Brussels bureaucrats. This is a fact, not an excuse.

Our railways cannot be restored to efficiency without breaking free of the shackles of Brussels and taking back the power to determine our future from faceless bureaucrats whose arrogance is only matched by their incompetence

A RAILWAY SYSTEM IN CHAOS

Every day we hear of some new lunacy resulting from the careless and inefficient way our railways were sold off at the insistence of the EU and are now managed by a Government which is totally subservient to Brussels.

Thanks to the illogical and completely impractical decision to take the responsibility for infrastructure, including the track itself away from the train operators, the blame for any problems, accidents or inconveniences is attributed by one organisation to the actions of another, leaving the passengers caught in the middle. The cost to the taxpayers and to those using the railways continues to soar, while the service constantly deteriorates.

Worse Still to Come!

Not content with wrecking our rail network the European Commission is now seeking to extend its senseless programme even further. Freight services have already been disrupted by EU directives 2001/13/EC, implemented on 15th March 2001, and 2001/14/EC2, implemented on 15th March 2003. Proposed new legislation now includes:

The effect of these measures will be to further undermine safety and to ignore the social needs for public transport, all in the name of untrammelled competition.

While our cowardly politicians continue to allow the railways to be run by arrogant diktat from Brussels, we shall see ever rising costs, falling standards of service, the increasing danger of accidents and eventually the destruction of the network as a public service. The ludicrous division of responsibilities must be ended and it should be accepted by everyone that safety, service and providing a useable transport system have to take priority over the European Commission's thoughtless destruction of national rail companies.

To restore our railway system and put an end to interference from Brussels - the UK must withdraw from the EU

(September 2004)