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Network Rail chairman says public is not on side

The rail industry has not done enough to convince the public of the need for investment in infrastructure, Network Rail chairman Rick Haythornthwaite said yesterday.

“It is not surprising that the public doesn’t understand the case for investment in the railway industry — we haven’t made it yet. We’ve not explained to them how dire the capacity crisis is,” said Haythornthwaite, in a speech to almost 150 rail industry senior leaders and executives outlining his priorities for his final year as chairman.

“We have not explained that our network remains much the same as it was 100 years ago. By failing to make the public aware of these issues … we have left them confused about what the options are. We have weakened our own argument by failing to explain what is at stake. And therefore we have made it more difficult to deliver change.”

Haythornthwaite said he wanted to “open a dialogue with the public” to cultivate “a more modern relationship” that will increase public support and lead to continued public funding. “We have to explain our issues in an honest and transparent way,” he said.


Readers' comments (2)

  • The financial arrangements between the public and the private parties could do with some clarification too. The taxpayer continues to plough in huge sums and the private operators are allowed annual fare increases way above inflation, without any obvious investment on their part.

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  • Barry Walton

    It is priceless that Mr Haythornmaite seeks sympathy from the general public, a group that includes those who in buying a railway ticket on their day of travel are ridiculed as being as thick as sheep. What precisely is at stake for this costly marginal mode of transport.

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