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A Former London Mayor
Talked on China's Microblog about
Privatisation of the Railway System

24 September 2012

The following is a message posted on China's most popular microblog site by John Ross, former Deputy Mayor of London. Chinese translation is credited to amy780301:


I am travelling on the high speed train from Beijing to Shanghai. I know about the finance of railway construction - I negotiated the finances of an $18 billion railway line construction in London. So i will write my next weibo on some international experience on this.

As railway construction finance is discussed in China it may be useful to know UK experience. Costs of railway construction are often underestimated sometimes by 50-100%. But benefits are underestimated even more. So overall railway construction is very economically efficient.

Private ownership of the rail network in the UK also led not to 1 but to several train crashes with many deaths - one very near my house. So the state had to take over the rail system to stop this. Now safety has improved a lot with no major crashes。

2nd feature of railways is that private companies are very inefficient. In London metro system private companies modernising the system lost the taxpayer $3 billion. The state had to take over the work to stop the losses.



在英国,私人拥有的铁路网络导致了不是一起,而是多起很多人死亡的铁路事故 - 其中一起事故离我家很近,所以国家不得不接管铁路系统,以避免更多这样的惨剧。现在英国铁路的安全性得到了很大改善,没再出现重大事故。





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