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Private thoughts

10 July 2013

Speaking at an an Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) event yesterday, the UK Transport Security Patrick McLoughlin shared his thoughts on the 20th anniversary of UK rail privatisation.

For McLoughlin, this was an occasion to celebrate "20 years since rail privatisation, 20 years of rising investment and 20 years of extraordinary growth on our railway".

While conceding that there had been "some wobbles along the way", McLoughlin insisted that "we overcame them and learned from them".

After "paying tribute to the people who got it right", McLoughlin told the ATOC audience that he now wanted to "look ahead and ask: how we can improve on the achievements of the past two decades?"

The Transport Secretary then painted a picture where "in another twenty years our transport system is going to be different again".

According to McLoughlin: "HS2 will be built. Crossrail will be a familiar part of London life. Our current mainlines will be largely electric. Services will often be faster and more frequent."

He continued: "If the first two decades of privatisation were about creating enterprise and growthm, the next decades are going to be about making sure all parts of the rail industry do what they do best as efficiently as possible."

The key to making this rail utopia come to pass, according to McLoughlin, will be a fruitful "collaboration" between government and industry which encourages "innovation" and "freedom", rather than the "centralised control", " form-filling and box-ticking" of the past.


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