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Why Britain's Railway Privatization Failed

Accidents and defaults have riders clamoring for a public takeover. But will the promised reintegration work?
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Luke MacGregor/Reuters

"A short history lesson helps," wrote Christian Wolmar, a British journalist and leading critic of the privatization of British Rail that began in 1993. Taking readers back to the 1820s, he wrote:

The U.K. is relearning this lesson nearly two centuries later as its rail operators duke it out not on the tracks, but in Parliament and the courts.