• Ramifications of "Brexit" for railways

  • Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.
Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.

Moderators: Komachi, David Benton

  by kato
johnthefireman wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:57 am I wonder what, if any, effect Brexit would have on this? Further down the article it says that Switzerland is able to access it on a case by case basis, so it can apply to non-EU states, but it sounds as if it is much simpler if you are an EU state.
Participation in the EU Agency for Railways is open to: "third countries, in particular countries within the scope of the European Neighbourhood Policy, the Enlargement policy countries and EFTA countries which have concluded agreements with the Union under which the countries concerned have adopted and are applying Union law, or equivalent national measures, in the field covered".

The precise wording and whether this would permit for the UK to participate in the first place is probably a case for lawyers (i can see a certain point in the above sentence where the absence of a comma might be crucial...). Participating non-members must contribute to the budget financially and may contribute staff. As the agency is rather small it's also a limited amount - probably around 2.5-3.0 million EUR for the UK. Both the management board of the agency and the EU commission have to sign off on a third country participating. Non-member states also do not get any voting rights within the agency.

Summarizing: there's about zero chance for the UK post-Brexit to participate in the EU Agency for Railways.


The above definition of scope for possible participation includes within Europe all current countries except for:
- Russia
- Monaco and Vatican, whose rail services are all operated by railway agencies from member countries
- San Marino and Andorra, which do not have railways (currently)
Kosovo was the last to enter the scope through the enlargement policy, in February 2018.

It includes countries outside Europe:
- in Asia: Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority
- in Africa: Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco
  by Gilbert B Norman
Tuesday's New York Times has an article regarding the effect upon border "chunneling" and the Eurostar at such time the UK exits the EU:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/18/worl ... ostar.html

Fair Use:
If Brexit eventually happens, as seems likely, the ease of travel they have depended on, contingent on quick immigration checks for European Union passport holders, seems certain to change.

The fate of the train itself may hang in the balance. For now, the executives who run it watch and wait.

Tickets are still selling fast. In August, a record total of one million passengers rode the Eurostar between London and its destinations of Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam. The company reported booming profits in 2017 and 2018, and has strengthened its marketing, bolstered by American demand and a growing preference for green travel.

But the Eurostar’s future will depend a lot on what Brexit ultimately looks like. A no-deal withdrawal could be catastrophic for business.

Documents leaked to the news media this year predicted that a no-deal or “hard” Brexit precipitating stricter and time-consuming passport checks by the French authorities would prompt 15,000-person-long lines at St. Pancras, the major rail station in London served by the Eurostar..
Where I'm at a loss is that the UK has never been party to the so-called Schoengen Agreement that permits control-free travel between the signatories - EU membership notwithstanding. The existing control-free passage between the UK and Irish Republic is governed by a separate treaty.

EU membership notwithstanding, it would not be in anyone's interest to initiate "shakedown" inspections of Eurostar passengers. Hopefully, frequent travelers between the Continent and UK will agree.
  by David Benton
Well, it appears Boris has his mandate to exit, surprising to me, but hard to argue with.
But I think we can now surmise Brexit will happen fairly quickly now.

It will take a few days to work out what this is likely to mean for the railways .
  by eolesen
Hardly a surprise to anyone reading the public's temperature and ignoring the media polls.... My guess is nothing significant happens to passenger rail. Freight? Can't say.

As already noted, UK didn't participate in the "Open Border" Schoengen Agreement, so there's already border controls in place, and the discussions with Ireland/Northern Ireland are already underway.
  by David Benton
Not surprising that the Conseratives won(I actually like Boris), but the scale of the seat losses in the Midlands is. Labour lost 8% of their vote, but far more seats, thanks to the first past the post system. I wonder if there will be a call for a more proportional representation system from the left.
It seems both sides campaigned on changing the current passenger contracting system, the Conservatives to allow more competition.
Wether they will have time to look at such matters in the next 4 years is another matter.
  by Gilbert B Norman
Predictably, The New York Times is "not exactly" cheering:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/13/opin ... hnson.html

Fair Use:
LONDON — Boris Johnson gambled everything on an election and won.

Called to resolve the intractable problem of Brexit, the election on Thursday — undertaken in winter, itself a sign of political crisis — delivered the Conservative Party its first commanding majority in over 40 years. The scale and shape of the victory surpassed projections: Parliament will be full of acquiescent Conservative legislators while the opposition Labour Party teeters on the precipice of civil war.

Mr. Johnson now has the means to do as he pleases. At the end of his term in five years, Britain will be a very different place. Out of the European Union for a start, but perhaps also no longer a union of nations. In its sinews and its structure, its economy and its culture, British society will be forever changed by Mr. Johnson’s premiership.

Suffice to say, The Wall Street Journal holds "alternative" thoughts:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-tory-lea ... _lead_pos1

Fair Use:
British voters sent a message to its reluctant politicians, to Europe and around the world Thursday by delivering Boris Johnson’s Tories a thorough and historic victory. The Conservatives won 364 of the 650 seats in Parliament, with one more still to be decided, their biggest majority since the sainted Margaret Thatcher era.

This paves the way for Britain’s divorce from the European Union that voters first backed in June 2016. That goal has been stymied by feckless leadership and elite opposition in Parliament, but Mr. Johnson promised to “get Brexit done” after becoming Prime Minister this year and voters seem to have rewarded him for it.

The Tories gained seats even in parts of the country that have backed the opposition Labour Party for decades. This more than compensated for the departure elsewhere of voters who abandoned Mr. Johnson’s Conservatives in favor of pro-EU parties such as the center-left Liberal Democrats.

This vindicates Mr. Johnson’s gamble on throwing the Brexit question back to the voters by seeking a mandate for his revised deal with Brussels. Plenty of anti-Brexit politicians and commentators have argued since the 2016 referendum that the voters had been misinformed about Brexit, or hadn’t fully thought through the issue, or don’t want the specific type of Brexit Mr. Johnson proposes, or have changed their minds. Mr. Johnson took voters at their word that they wanted Brexit then and still want it now, and he was willing to buck the London intelligentsia in the bargain.
There are much larger issues on the table to be addressed at this time for accessing the British Isles; passenger rail transport being on the bottom of the list.
  by Semaphore Sam
Perhaps it is time to figure out whether there will still BE an EU in five years. Sam
  by johnthefireman
The New Tube Map Artwork Is Basically A Brexit Metaphor
If you thought the artsy pair looked like they were going through some kind of anxiety-inducing drama, you're not wrong. The artwork — which is also on posters dotted around the network — is called Morden (despite not featuring the Northern line). According to the Welsh artist's PR, the name is "an apt metaphor, signalling the end of the Northern line and a nation on edge individually, collectively, politically and socially." Yikes. (Also: does that mean the Northern line extension is a metaphor for a Brexit extension? We're already a bit lost)...
Semaphore Sam wrote: Thu Dec 19, 2019 4:31 am Perhaps it is time to figure out whether there will still BE an EU in five years. Sam
SS and Everyone: With strong secessionist movements in both Scotland and Northern
Ireland winning the majority in both countries the question should be "Will there be a
United Kingdom in five years?"

The core of Brexit support is in England where the Conservatives won 345 of their
grand total of 365 seats (the other 20 Conservative seats were 6 in Scotland and 14 in Wales) to expand their base over the Labour Party - which won 180 seats in England.
Labour won their only majority in Wales-22 to 14-along with 4 Welsh Plaid Cymru Party seats.

The Scotland National Party - which is anti-Brexit - won a huge majority in the election
in Scotland-48 out of 59 total seats-perhaps enough for another referendum on Scottish independence. The Conservatives won 6 seats in Scotland and in each case by
a relatively narrow margin over the SNP candidate respectively.

Sinn Fein, Alliance and the Social Democratic/Labour Party won a majority (10 to 8
seats) over the pro-UK Democratic Unionists in Northern Ireland. These three parties
main objective is of a united Ireland. The border between the Republic of Ireland and
Northern Ireland may become the only land border between an EU member (Ireland)
and the UK post Brexit depending on what eventually happens with Scotland.

In the case of railroading a hard England-Scotland border will have to be factored in
if and when Scotland becomes an independent country. A united Ireland is going to
be far easier for border formalities with the soft border between them gone.

Let's see how the 2020s Decade pans out for the British Isles...MACTRAXX
  by Semaphore Sam
If they so vote, must let Northern Ireland and/or Scotland go. Still have the question, will the EU still exist in 5 years? Multiple States have doubt about remaining, with growing discontent. Do not know future of rail, if this happens.
  by bengt
Semaphore Sam wrote: Wed Dec 25, 2019 6:36 pm If they so vote, must let Northern Ireland and/or Scotland go. Still have the question, will the EU still exist in 5 years? Multiple States have doubt about remaining, with growing discontent. Do not know future of rail, if this happens.
As it is now in the US with Trump, is it likely that the Union is divided into progressive and conservative states? Maybe even at war with each other.
  by David Benton
Thanks Jeff.
Scotrail has always existed with some degree of autonomy from British Rail, I can't imagine drastic change if Scotland joined the EU after the UK leaves. i can't imagine anything other than a open border either, I would imagine Scotland would have some sort of agreement to control incoming foreigners via flights etc . But I doubt the England - Scotland trains would have immigration / custom controls.
As for Northern Ireland / Ireland trains , well, the Irish will sort that out as only the Irish can . But I doubt there will be major changes there either. Even during the "troubles", train ran Belfast -Dublin, with minimal customs / immigration checks.
A bit ironic for those hoping Brexit would reduce immigration, bu I can't see it working any other way
DB and Everyone:

From further searching about the issue of borders between Scotland/England and
Northern Ireland/Irish Republic could be a subject in the news along with Brexit
beginning in 2020.

A hard Scotland-England border is going to be tough to deal with being aware that any land formalities does not exist as of the current time - this will affect anyone crossing
this newly-hardened border in any mode of transport. I agree that setting up Customs
and Immigration in places such as the Edinburgh or Glasgow Stations for service south
into England could be an example of what lies ahead under an independent Scotland.
Exactly how soft or hard a new border will be is something that both governments have
to work out with their differences and animosity towards one another the key to what
type of border that this may eventually be.

What made the Northern Ireland situation interesting this time around is that the pro-unification parties (with the Republic of Ireland) now have a clear majority for the first
time over the UK Unionists. I found interesting that all of the UK Parliament seats that
border the Irish Republic are held by pro-united Ireland parties. Ending the soft border
between NI and the IR looks to be an easy proposition with a united Ireland. What is
going to be interesting is to see how the railway companies in both jurisdictions will
operate under one Irish government instead of separately.

Happy New Year 2020 to all!!! MACTRAXX
  by David Benton
Happy New Year to you , Mactraxx, and to all.
The majority of seats in Northern Ireland been pro reunification with Ireland, may actually cause the UK to want to hold on to control of Northern Ireland. That is because they would see themselves as protecting the protestant minority(in a united Ireland) from sectarian violence. I would like to think Ireland today is somewhat more open minded than it was 30 years ago(haven't been back since), but it is still an important issue.
https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politic ... -1.3891032

I would think in a reunited Ireland , the two railway operations would merge into one, fairly quickly. The Northern Ireland section been fairly small , by any standard. Then again , the idea of keeping Northern Ireland somewhat autonomous , may be served by keeping things like railways as they are , at least in the short term.
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