Off the Rails: The Crisis of Britain's Railways

Off the Rails: The Crisis of Britain's Railways

by Andrew Murray
     
 
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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“It is not often that one can describe a book examining policy failures, management failures and risk assessment failures as a ‘rattling good yarn.’”—Tribune

“Meticulously researched and well-written, this book is a must.”—Morning Star

“Excellent ... a masterful analysis of the role of privatisation in the crisis currently facing the railways.”—John Hendy QC

“Andrew Murray has produced a mini-masterpiece and done his country an enormous favor ... In a better world ASLEF union organisers would distribute free copies at mainline stations to weary, humiliated commuters.”—New Statesman

“... in exposing the failings that enterprise and political expediency have brought us so far, [this] combination of forceful reasoning and emotional polemics carries the day. The most ardent free-marketeer will struggle to rebut [it].”—Daily Telegraph

“... prescient ...”—Financial Times

“Andrew Murray rightly draws attention to the fact that—far from modernising the railways in the interests of the customer—the break-up and privatisation of rail has led to catastrophe and a deteriorating service. His conclusion that rail privatisation is not only ‘uniquely awful’ but has a wider message about the role of the private sector in the public services is highly relevant to the debate now taking place about the future of those services.”—Ken Livingston, Mayor of London

Booknews
A communications officer for the train drivers' union ASLEF in the UK investigates the disastrous Hatfield crash in October 2000, tracing the origins of the problem back to the 1994 decision to privatize the system in the face of considerable public opposition. He draws on the testimony of train drivers, maintenance workers, signalers, station staff, and passengers' representatives, advocating for the renationalization of the system, evidently a proposition with considerable public support. 5.5x8<">. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781859846407
Publisher:
Verso Books
Publication date:
11/17/2001
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

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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