At this time of stress and challenge for the rail industry, it is worth standing back and reflecting on the considerable advances in reliability and safety that have been achieved since privatisation through the endeavours of the multitude of professional engineers working within a variety of commercial limitations.
The aftermath of Slough, Ladbroke Grove and Hatfield has been a demonstration of public impatience, demanding a rate of investment in improvements beyond the immediate commercial capacities of the railway companies and their customers among the general public.
To move ahead, the rail industry requires and deserves serious government subsidy if the rate of improvement is to be accelerated without significant increases in track access charges and fares. Given this support the industry will be able to persevere to achieve the world class safety and reliability which will underpin the modal shift which lies at the heart of the Government's integrated transport strategy, laid out in the ten year plan.
Mike Casebourne, Chief Executive & Secretary One Great George Street, London SW1P 3AA