GBR – a very long way to go

Informed Sources

Cutting edge analysis of the issues which really matter

■ Restructuring will take time

■ Imponderables and uncertainties remain

■ Final Williams implementation in next decade?

■ Limited contenders for PSCs

Taking something apart – stripping an engine, say – is a relatively quick and straightforward process, even when you take time to put the nuts and bolts and bits and bobs in carefully labelled separate containers (empty margarine tubs, in my case). Reassembling all those parts into something that works better than before is much more difficult and time-consuming.

For example, from the publication of the White Paper ‘New Opportunities for the Railways: The Privatisation of British Rail’ in July 1992 to the completion of privatisation with the sale of Railfreight Distribution in November 1997 took just five years and four months.

Contrast that with the 10 years between BR Chairman Sir Bob Reid appointing the first Sector Directors in 1982 and the full implementation of the business-led railway in 1992. The regional structure Sir Bob inherited had been transformed into vertically integrated businesses, each bringing together operations and engineering.

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