UK railway services are now almost entirely state-owned – by foreign countries

Could there be a better argument to support Labour’s call for train services to be re-nationalised?

British rail commuters pay the highest prices in Europe to use trains that are almost exclusively run by European state operators.

We are subsidising services in their countries.

If our railways were re-nationalised, the money we pay would flow into UK state coffers. From there it could be used to, possibly, improve the service and reduce prices.

Don’t you think that would be a better way?

With rail fares set to rise again by as much as 2.8 per cent, the debate over whether the UK should renationalise the railways – which Labour made a 2017 manifesto pledge – has already reared its head.

This week the Trades Union Congress renewed its call for renationalisation, saying doing so would lead to lower ticket prices.

“We’re already paying the highest ticket prices in Europe to travel on overcrowded and understaffed trains,” the organisation’s general secretary Frances O’Grady said.

[But] extensive state-ownership exists among UK rail operators, it just doesn’t involve the British state.

Here’s the full list:

c2c: Italian state

Chiltern: German state

Caledonian sleeper: PRIVATE

CrossCountry: German state

East Midlands: Dutch state

Eurostar: French state

Gatwick Express: French state

Grand Central: German state

Great Northern: French state


Greater Anglia: Dutch state

Heathrow Express: PRIVATE

Hull Trains: PRIVATE

LNER: British state

London Northwestern Railway: Dutch state

London Overground: German state

London Underground: British state

Merseyrail: Dutch state

Northern: German state

Northern Ireland Railways: British state

Scotrail: Dutch state

South Western Railway: Hong Kong state

Southeastern: French state

Southern: French state

Stansted Express: Dutch state

TfL rail: Hong Kong state

Thameslink: French state

TransPennine Express: PRIVATE

Transport for Wales: French state

West Coast: Italian state

West Midlands Railway: Dutch state

Source: Trains on UK railways now almost entirely state-owned – by foreign countries | The Independent

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  1. Wildswimmer Pete August 15, 2019 at 4:28 pm - Reply

    The Tories’ claim that EU rules prevent the UK running a nationalised rail network is utter bunk. Most of our rail franchises are run by mostly EU state railways i.e. DB (Deutsche Bahn), Abellio (Dutch state railway).

  2. trev August 15, 2019 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    Definitely should re-Nationalize. It would be interesting to see what the Brextremists have to say about that in the light of this information.

  3. Barry August 15, 2019 at 4:36 pm - Reply

    Amazingly all those who voted remain are against the renationalisation of the railways, because under Eu legislation we can’t do that.

  4. Zippi August 15, 2019 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    £ike many of our formerly state run businesses. I understand.

  5. Growing Flame August 15, 2019 at 9:41 pm - Reply

    An excellent point about how so much of the British rail system is run by government/state enterprises. BUT they are hardly good examples of Socialist practise. After all, it is the dire, expensive nature of the British rail system that motivates us to want it re-nationalised. One day soon, some free-market fanatic , writing in the Mail or Telegraph, will explain that British trains are so bad BECAUSE of so much foreign state intervention. And they will add a dash of xenophobia to the mix, as well!
    So we need to argue for re-nationalisation but also, explain how we will do things differently.

  6. Molly Ayton August 16, 2019 at 7:30 am - Reply

    Bring it all back home

  7. Zippi August 16, 2019 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    From the list, it would appear that the French are the worst service providers.

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