UK railways are heading into a perfect storm. Now is the time to nationalise them | Christian Wolmar

These services are an essential part of the nation’s fabric, but still ministers fixate on cutting costs over providing a service

“So, Mum/Dad, what are the railways for?” That is the question the UK rail industry will be dreading hearing in a post-pandemic world.

This is not quite the existential crisis rail faced in the aftermath of the extensive Beeching cuts to the network in the mid-1960s, but that’s cold comfort. There is a considerable risk that services are going to deteriorate massively in 2022, sending the sector into the kind of downward spiral that was last experienced in the 1970s and 1980s.

Christian Wolmar is a writer and broadcaster specialising in transport. He has recently updated his book The Crossrail Story, and his history of British Rail will be published in June

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