Chalk + Talk with Karel Williams: Why can’t the Brits think straight about railways?

Our next ESRC sponsored Chalk + Talk series welcomes Professor Karel Williams of the University of Manchester to discuss UK rail policy.

Slides from Professor Williams’ presentation can be downloaded here. A podcast and blog of the event will follow shortly.

Date and time:
Thursday 28 May 2015, 12:30 – 13:30
A light lunch will be served from 12:00

Social Market Foundation
11 Tufton Street, London, SW1P 3QB

The great British rail debate is muddled by the portrayal of two competing narratives; one, put out by the train operating companies, emphasises the positives and the other, coming from the rail unions, highlights the negatives of rail privatisation.

At this Chalk + Talk, Professor Williams sets out a wider discussion on what these conflicting narratives mean for both rail users and policy makers.

He will look at three key policy issues that are rarely discussed: why train operating companies take profits when they do not invest capital or take risk on the revenue line; how to decide on rail subsidy when there is not enough money in the fare box to cover capital expenditure or the level of service which the public expects; and what should the state do about the £35 billion of bonds which financed Network Rail’s capital expenditure and have since become public debt. Professor Williams will conclude by saying that the muddying of these issues is part of a much larger problem stemming from the role of self-serving trade narratives since the increasing privatisation and outsourcing of public services.

Chalk + Talk is the SMF’s popular lunchtime seminar series, run in partnership with the ESRC. To register for this event please fill out the Eventbrite registration below.