• 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 David Benton
The United kingdom has voted to leave the European Union.
We need to stick to discussing the effect on railways of this, my usual tolerance of "wandering off topic" , and posting background politics/social comments, will not apply to this subject. There is plenty of media coverage for those not familiar with British politics.
I think we all need time to let this sink in , before making rash statements.
Think before you post.
Thanks in advance.
Co Moderator - Worldwide forum.
Last edited by David Benton on Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:41 am, edited 1 time in total. Reason: lack of interest to be sticky
  by Semaphore Sam
Two vectors come to mind; first, the contacts with France, and points South and East, through the Chunnel, and second. contacts with the fishes (Sturgeon and Salmon) up North. Nothing will happen immediately; 2 years minimum, for common sense to work its magic. Having the Chunnel means that regulating commerce and travel can be relatively easily controlled by both sides, to their mutual advantage. The EU-Swiss model seems to work well, that could serve as a template for the Chunnel. Up North, the Scots will have to sort out whether or not they will have another independence referendum. If they do, and they choose the EU over UK, they will have to sort out their border relationship with England; much more complicated I think. The first consequence would be that the chances for the new Borders route eventually getting to Carlisle would be killed; it's much easier to control the existing routes only, rather than open up another, with new border controls. Just thoughts for starters. Sam
  by talltim
Another border is between Northern Ireland and Eire. Always been a bit of a security concern with the 'Troubles' it, border controls my be tightened. Of course while Northern Ireland exists because it wants to be part of the U.K., things may change.
If the economy contracts the HS2 might not happen. Also much of the rail investment in the north may fade away if George Osbourne loses his position as they were his baby (likely with the changes in the Conservative party and he was in the In camp).
I suspect that companies will become more conservative in their franchise bidding, this is already happening without the EU stuff as they seem to be getting sick of the huge costs of bidding and the not great returns for what they are asked to do.
Other than that I think it will be business as usual.
  by David Benton
Thanks Tim and Sam.
Maybe there will be an increase in tourism, with the drop in the pound. that should benefit the Channel tunnel line , and regional railways .Long term I would expect business travel to drop between Europe and London.
I wondered about the future of franchising and bidding out services. I believe that is now done to EU rules. That may change.
And the future of DB in England may be a bit shaky , if orders from the German government are to back out of England. such an order would not Be made publicly I wouldn't think.
Scotland and Northern Ireland, from a railway perspective, a united Irish system makes sense, We just have to hope that comes about peacefully. Scotland obviously needs it rail links to England, can't see much change there from a railway perspective.
  by george matthews
I would think that railway ownership would not change much. DB would probably continue to run its franchises unless a Labour government renationalises railways. A Scot Nat government may well wish to renationalise Scotrail. But this is some time in the speculative future. In any case the Scots will not be flush with money as long as the oil price remains so low.
  by Semaphore Sam
As for railway talk, just as a general topic, given the profitability of railways prior to WWI, say about 1913, had not the two World Wars happened, would the railways have been Nationalized? Obviously, WWI and WWII were totally destructive of the system in place in 1913; WWI saw the railways being run-down, and put into national service, with the Big Four in 1923 the result, and the 39-45 War resulted in the decimation of the Four, totally run down, with 1948 Nationalization the result. Might it be, that major war naturally results in increased public ownership? Just curious; I am from the States, and something similar happened there. Curious in a "what-might-have-been" way. From the beginning of UK railways, including down through Churchill, and many others in the 1800's, there were no lack of advocates for Nationalization. Sam.
  by philipmartin
US railroads weren't blitzed in the two world wars, but are slowly heading towards bankruptcy and eventual nationalization. See Fred Frailey's article "Inside the mind of Michael Ward" in the July 2016 Trains Magazine. It's about problems faced by CSX in particular, and other North American railroads in general. http://cs.trains.com/trn/b/fred-frailey ... -ward.aspx" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Last edited by philipmartin on Sun Jun 26, 2016 3:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  by David Benton
I think the loss to London will be bigger than anyalysts are making out, its role as the English speaking worlds gateway to Europe will diminish. Channel tunnel traffic must suffer as a result .
speaking of Mother England, It never really translated to us buying most of our Railway engines and rolling stock from England, more came from the USA, even in the early days.
  by philipmartin
David Benton wrote:
speaking of Mother England, It never really translated to us buying most of our Railway engines and rolling stock from England, more came from the USA, even in the early days.
Norris had a export trade from Philadelphia in the 1840s. That Spanisch Broetli Bahn train, posted elsewhere, was supposedly pulled by a Norris export engine, and part of Norris' design was taken from Stephenson.
Last edited by philipmartin on Sun Jun 26, 2016 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by johnthefireman
David Benton wrote:It never really translated to us buying most of our Railway engines and rolling stock from England, more came from the USA, even in the early days.
Actually Britain also buys most of its railway locomotives from north America these days! I'm not actually sure if there are any indigenous companies making locomotives in the UK any more - except the new build steam locos! There are foreign companies who have set up assembly plants in the UK, particularly for multiple units. Another question is whether those companies (and also the foreign car makers who have set up similar plants in UK) will still consider it useful to have plants in UK serve the relatively small local market once they lose the benefits of access to the European market.
  by philipmartin
Photo below: no, that's not an EU armoured train; it doesn't have one yet. It's "The 'Hurban' Armoured train located in Zvolen, Slovakia. It is not the original, but a replica used in a film."
Here's some of the film: It's about the Slovak national rising against the Nazis in 1944. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0OFnZMSeEA" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by george matthews
There is talk that several projects will be postponed. One of these is the High Speed rail line from London to Birmingham. "Postponed" may turn out to be a euphemism for "cancelled".
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