The ASI's latest report, Network Fail: Getting UK Rail Back on Track, made this morning's papers. Featuring as the lead story in The Sun's city section and The Times homepage leader as well as the Daily Express, City AM and the Mail Online.
The Times reported:
The High Speed 2 rail project will cost up to nine times more than similar tracks in France and should be scrapped, the prime minister has been told. It would be “economically irresponsible” to press ahead with the project because the eventual costs could rise to £80 billion, according to an analysis by the Adam Smith Institute, a free-market think tank.
Running the trains at higher speeds, the need for new stations and the lack of existing expertise in building high-speed lines have all been blamed for making the construction of HS2 more expensive than projects overseas.
The Sun reported:
Ministers must sell off part of Network Rail to ease Britain's train chaos, a think tank urges today. It recommends that up to 49.9 per cent of the UK's track operator should be offloaded to smaller rail companies.
The Adam Smith Institute said efficiency would improve if they were responsible for the lines their trains run on - while £8billion would be raised for the public purse to boot.
The Daily Express reported:
Experts at the Adam Smith Institute called for Network Rail to be sold off by the Government and for the £50billion HS2 High Speed rail line to be scrapped.
City AM reported:
Southwood said that he didn’t think that Southern ought to be stripped of the franchise, as has been advocated by the London Assembly today. This is because of the way the franchise agreement is structured as a management contract.
He said the fact that Department for Transport tells Southern Rail exactly how to operate and then pays it a management fee for doing so undermines the whole process. “If you tell them everything to do then you are not really running a private company,” he said.
Mail Online reported:
The report called for the return of "vertical integration" in the rail network with smaller lines being progressively stripped from NR, and in the longer term regional railway companies emerging. More competition between operators should be promoted, according to the institute. Fewer than 1% of passenger miles travelled in Britain are on lines where competition exists through open access concessions.
The paper was also covered by 140 regional titles and rail trade publications.