Monday, 31 July 2006

The Tragedy of the Railways

I went to York at the weekend by train, and visited the National Railway Museum. (It's fantastic, by the way, if you like that kind of thing.) But what it really made clear is what a wonderful we used to have in the National Railway system, and what a sad and fallible thing we are left with. Surely it has to be in the national economic interest to have a railway system that works well? Surely we have learnt the lesson that private capital cannot do this kind of thing, with its very long term investment horizons and its low direct return on capital well?

The fact that the indirect return on capital via higher economic activity is very high is irrelevant to a traditional common stock company: so just renationalise the whole thing, huh, and have done with it.

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