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Can someone please explain me why the British railway system is as bad as the Italian one but much more expensive?

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Maybe I was just lucky, but on my three trips to Italy, on which I rode trains each time, the trains were right on time and the employees I dealt with were pleasant and helpful.

Joe Buck: Please don’t say good things about my country someone could get an heart attack.


1st – about 40 years ago most places in europe decided to invest in rail, the uk decided not to as the benefits would take too long.
2nd – Dr Beeching cut about 50% of the railways in the 70s
3rd – In the late 90s after years of underinvestment the railways were privatised (by that stage they were already the most expensive in europe)

The present day: Different train companies, rent the trains from other companies who are owned by the bank. Another company owns the track and outsources the maintenance.
Some of the rail companies are the same as notoriously dodgy bus companies.
It costs the government more now it’s privatised.
There has been pretty much no new track (apart from the channel tunnel rail link) for nearly 100 years.


Due to the creation of a vibrant and competitive by giving each franchisee a monopoly in its own little area…

Yeah, have to echo Joe Buck: in my experience, the Italian railway system works a whole lot better than the British one.

Stu pretty much nailed it.

Having said that, don’t ever try travelling by train in North America, if you think Britain is bad.

Oh, and if you have to travel by train in the U.K., book online with Virgin, they have the lowest card surcharges. Mess around with your journey details and times and see if you can find cheaper fares, the fare system is ludicrously complex.

The only thing that’s got slightly better since privatization is the food. I always liked Douglas Adams’ joke about British Rail food: they keep the sandwiches fresh by taking them out of the packet and washing them once a week.

Buy some back issues of Private Eye and read the “signal failures” section, it provides some good insight.

Basically, the trains are run by private companies, which have no incentive to run anything but the most basic of services – the train can be falling apart but as long it’s still moving, they don’t care. The price goes up but all the money just goes straight into the pockets of First Group, Richard Branson, etc.

Because the administration of the train network is divided into many separate companies, there’s hardly any direction or cooperation between them, so advances in train technology will take decades to appear.

There are also large numbers of people simply employed as bureaucrats who in reality serve no useful purpose. If the network was nationalised again (which it should be), their jobs would not exist.

It’s not possible. I don’t trust you. You are a liar. My father is an italian railwayman. I KNOW!

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@guido: stupid!
you have to ask that some day before marco is coming back to italy not the opposite!!! :p

@fina: I’ve asked before.. but nothing!

@guido: i know, i kno, but he did it because is your friend and CIGARETTES KILLS!!!

anyway if you excange those with some ham i bet he will remember that next time :)

breathing kills! every creature that breathe then die! (we are a bit off topic :P)