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What would Brexit mean for railways?

8 June 2016  •  Author(s): Ian Hall

Ian Hall explores the issues at stake for the rail sector in the UK referendum on EU membership.

What would Brexit mean for railways

The UK holds its referendum on European Union (EU) membership on 23 June: a vote for potential ‘Brexit’ (British exit from the EU) being closely watched across the world.

Prime Minister David Cameron is battling for ‘Remain’, but other high-profile Conservative politicians, such as Boris Johnson, are leading the charge for ‘Leave’. Global leaders such as US president Barack Obama and institutions such as the International Monetary Fund have piled in to advise against rocking the boat.

The UK referendum strikes at the heart of fundamental issues such as sovereignty, identity and economy. So, naturally, organisations in the rail sector have been considering their position on EU membership.

Balance of Competencies report

As momentum towards the referendum brewed, the UK Government actually took stock of the EU’s impact on UK transport via its grandly titled ‘Review of the Balance of Competencies between the UK and the EU’. This sprawling examination ran between 2012 and 2014, generating 32 reports, with one devoted to transport. Sixteen organisations were cited as ‘Rail’ sector respondents to the transport chapter (see boxout). The Department for Transport (DfT) received 111 pieces of evidence, and held workshops (including one focused on rail).

There is direct and indirect EU legislation affecting rail, ranging from the well-known Fourth Railway Package – which seeks to open domestic passenger markets to international competition and boost technical harmonisation – through to ‘social’ measures.

The UK is seen as a leading advocate for a single European market in transport. But, as is inevitably the case within a 28-member alliance, different states have moved at different speeds towards rail liberalisation. As the Balance of Competencies report notes: ‘There was concern at the failure of some Member States to reciprocate in opening their domestic rail markets.’

Nuggets within the Balance of Competencies report reveal more specific rail-related nuggets. For example, this: ‘Stakeholders suggested opportunities for British firms in the emerging single rail market and considered the expertise the UK had developed in, for example, rolling stock leasing, train maintenance and alternative energy supply, could be invaluable in exploiting gaps in other Member States’ industries. National Express reported to the UK embassy in Berlin that there was a real gap in the market for rolling stock companies (ROSCOs).’ 

Other rail specifics the report flags included: ‘Participants in the London rail workshop noted that ‘freight and rolling stock are predominantly a domestic issue for the UK’; and ‘TfL [Transport for London], commenting on rail, was of the view that ‘greater localisation of standards, away from major strategic routes, would be desirable. Such an approach could prove a useful way to reduce the cost of compliance with regulations and standards that are inappropriate to particular routes. Unfortunately the Fourth Rail Package appears to move in the opposite direction’.

Questions arising

In recent months advisory firms have been busy scrutinising what Brexit could mean. Among them are DeHavilland EU, which has published a briefing note pinpointing the future of international franchising and access to tenders as the biggest question within the rail sector.

The political monitoring firm said: ‘The situation, including UK rail companies’ freedom to participate in tender processes for franchises in the EU, depends on what deal will be brokered in the event of Brexit and whether the UK would continue to participate in the liberalisation and integration of the EU’s rail system’.

‘Under the current Conservative government, the latter seems likely, and it is equally likely that EU companies would be allowed to bid for UK rail franchises. The situation for UK companies in the EU is likely to mirror EU companies’ treatment in the UK.’

The above assessment is mirrored in a briefing produced in March by Norton Rose Fulbright entitled ‘Impact of Brexit on the Transport Sector’. The law firm’s note says: ‘Given the ‘value for money’ considerations for the UK public sector, it is likely that the UK Government would be intent on tendering any rail franchises to as large a pool of bidders as possible.’  

UK Transport in Europe’s view

Mark Watts was a Labour MEP for a decade until 2004 and now runs the public affairs consultancy Luther Pendragon Brussels. He is also co-ordinator of UK Transport in Europe (UKTiE), a body that represents UK transport interests in Brussels.

“I can see three main implications of a Brexit for the UK rail industry: all are harmful and all could have impact sooner than some people think” – Mark Watts, Luther Pendragon Brussels

Mark, speaking to European Railway Review in a personal capacity, says: “I can see three main implications of a Brexit for the UK rail industry: all are harmful and all could have impact sooner than some people think.

“First, I think investment in the rail sector would fall. Political and economic uncertainty is the enemy of investment. The UK is reliant on foreign firms investing and I can see an investment drought. Even most pro-Brexiters don’t envisage the UK leaving the EU causing an upsurge in foreign investment.

“Second, I think fares could rise as there’s a strong possibility of a run on the pound – and, given the ongoing uncertainty, this has already happened in recent weeks, to an extent – causing rising energy costs. Someone will have to pay for a low pound: the UK government, taxpayers or fare-paying passengers. Rail firms’ margins are so tight that they could even be handing back keys on franchises. The government would certainly have to review fare-rise caps.”

His third point picks up on the issue related to tendering: “A Brexit would hit the whole rail supply-chain. Rules for European railways will be being set and the UK won’t have any say, like Norway, which is outside the EU but their railway sector seeks to comply with EU standards. If you’re [as a country] not at the top-table it will surely be harder for your country’s firms to be shortlisted for contacts overseas, let alone win tenders. It’s not just about regulatory compliance: it would be about retaliation. As we have already heard from European leaders no-one is going to make our life easy outside the EU and that’s especially true for a highly competitive market like rail.”

Remaining neutral

European Railway Review contacted numerous other organisations for their views.

One obvious place to start, given its main artery under the Channel, was Eurostar. The firm’s press office told European Railway Review that it was unable to comment, but referred to public pronouncements made by Nicolas Petrovic. Earlier this year – and unsurprisingly – the firm’s Paris-born CEO said: ‘Purely as a business we’d rather the UK stayed in the EU.’

A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators and Network Rail, told European Railway Review: “Britain has one of Europe’s safest, fastest-growing and most liberalised railways. We are investing more in our railway than anyone else in Europe. As rail becomes increasingly important in Britain, our focus is on building the bigger, better railway that the economy and nation need. We are neutral as to whether Britain should stay in or leave the European Union.”

A further keenly interested organisation is the Freight Transport Association (FTA). It says: ‘Following discussions at Freight Councils – during which a wide range of views were expressed – members decided that as an association, FTA should remain strictly neutral on this issue. That said, the outcome of the vote will have significant implications for the freight and logistics industry.’

The Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (CILT) has recently surveyed its 18,000 individual members on Brexit. Of 676 responses, 65 per cent believe the logistics, supply-chain and transport industries will have a stronger future if the UK remains in the EU.

CILT’s Chief Executive, Kevin Richardson, said: “The message from our members reveals that, both as individuals and from a business perspective, a majority are in favour of remaining in the EU. The Institute does not align itself with any campaign and respects that our members have split views on the issue.”

Trade union viewpoints

Some trade unions, which rarely fall into the shrinking-violet category, have been vocal.

In respect of the railways and Brexit, a couple of months ago the RMT outlined six reasons for leaving the EU. The transport union’s General Secretary, Mick Cash, said: “RMT has set out the six core reasons for our members to vote to leave and we will be campaigning hard on this platform.”

Among the RMT’s reasons to be pro-Brexit include an assertion that EU rail policies ‘are set to further entrench rail privatisation and fragmentation’. In the word of the RMT leader: “It would be frankly ludicrous for a union like ours to support staying in a bosses club that seeks to ban the public ownership of our railways.”

The EU has long held a reputation for protecting workers’ rights, but the RMT dismisses this as a myth. The union says: ‘In fact the EU is developing a new policy framework to attack trade union rights, collective bargaining, job protections and wages. This is already being enforced in countries which have received EU “bailouts”.’

Singing from a similar hymn-sheet is train-drivers’ union Aslef, whose pro-Brexit stance owes to what its General Secretary, Mick Whelan, described in March as ‘a couple of proposals emerging from Brussels that we think will be bad for Britain in general, and bad for the railway in particular – the Fourth Railway Package and the TTIP trade deal between the EU and the US.’

The Fourth Railway Package, says Whelan, would ‘foist the British model of rail privatisation on the rest of Europe. [And] privatisation doesn’t work’. 

In contrast, the TUC wants the UK to stay within the 28-member bloc while Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA rail union, cited the danger he sees to employees’ rights in the event of Brexit as a reason to back ‘Remain’.

Technical aspects

Jerry Alderson, Director of Finance and Corporate Governance at campaign group Railfuture, says the organisation is “entirely agnostic” as regards the EU referendum. 

“Clearly any longer-lasting macro-economic impact caused by Brexit would affect the railway. However, the global recession in 2008 hardly affected Britain’s railway” – Jerry Alderson, Railfuture

Speaking in a personal capacity, he tells European Railway Review that he believes the likely impact of Brexit would be negligible. He says: “The days immediately after the referendum will see market volatility [after a Brexit]. Clearly any longer-lasting macro-economic impact caused by Brexit would affect the railway. However, the global recession in 2008 hardly affected Britain’s railway (just two quarters of passenger reduction, unlike all previous recessions) and today’s railway does appear to be largely recession-proof.

Onto technical specifics, he says: “EU legislation has affected Britain’s railway but Brexit is unlikely to lead to any reversal. For example, it is unlikely that the harmonised December annual timetable change will be moved or split into half-yearly changes. The EU limits franchise-length to 15 years but the DfT has no desire for longer franchises. The PRM-TSI [Persons with Reduced Mobility/ Technical Specification for Interoperability] accessibility deadline of 1 January 2020 would still see much of Britain’s rolling-stock replaced or modernised even if Britain were no longer bound by it.

“Britain will continue to conform to European technical standards, such as the ERTMS [European Rail Traffic Management System] and ETCS [European Train Control System], when it renews signalling as part of its ‘Digital Railway’ revolution. It makes no sense to have diverging standards.”

On a similarly more involved level, DeHavilland’s briefing note (referred to earlier) says: ‘In terms of regulatory developments, the UK [after a potential Brexit] is likely to remain a member of the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF) and the Channel Tunnel Intergovernmental Commission (IGC), both of which form parts of working parties set up by the European Railway Agency (ERA). Due to this the UK would likely continue to have a role in the development of common technical specifications in the event of Brexit.’

ORR modifications likely?

Norton Rose Fulbright’s ‘Impact of Brexit on the Transport Sector’ report (also referenced earlier), also examines regulatory aspects.

It says: ‘The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) is responsible for both economic and safety regulation in Great Britain. Much of this regulation derives from the EU and is therefore designed to be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ for all European rail networks. In the absence of this system, ORR could in theory seek to modify the regulatory framework in a way that it considered better suited the rail network in Great Britain.

‘One potential area that ORR might seek to change concerns the regulatory framework for access charging. The EU access charging rules contain strict provisions on how infrastructure managers should set access charges for operators. A consequence of these rules is that it limits Network Rail’s ability to discriminate in the way it sets charges for different operators, even if there is an objective justification for such discrimination. If these rules no longer applied, there could be scope to increase open access in rail by setting the access charging framework in a way that promoted open access operators and increased on-rail competition. This might be attractive to ORR given its policy to promote more on-rail competition.’

Febrile atmosphere

Beyond the macroeconomics and other uncertainties, the impact on transport depends largely on what deal the British government negotiates (and to what extent it will try to sign up to existing regulations).

But even the procedures and timetable for a UK divorce from the EU are disputed.

So, is Brexit on the cards? At the time of writing, polls suggest that a vote for ‘Remain’ is more likely. But the polls were wrong at last year’s General Election, the atmosphere in Westminster is febrile and many voters remain undecided. The stakes are high.

UK Government’s ‘Balance of Competencies’ review

The 16 organisations listed below were cited as ‘Rail’ sector respondents to the UK Government’s ‘Review of the Balance of Competencies between the UK and the EU’ Transport chapter (publication date: February 2014)

  • Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC)
  • ASLEF
  • Bruges Group
  • Eurostar
  • Freightliner Group
  • Hamburg Koln Express (HKX)
  • High Speed One
  • Mofair e.V. (German private passenger railway representative group)
  • National Express
  • Network Rail
  • Office of Rail Regulation (ORR)
  • Passenger Focus/London Travel Watch
  • Private Wagon Federation
  • Rail Freight Group
  • Railfuture
  • Rail Standards and Safety Board (RSSB)

Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/278966/boc-transport.pdf

Do you agree with what they say?
Comment below and let us know.

38 responses to “What would Brexit mean for railways?”

  1. Terry Kight says:

    There are 30 valid reasons listed here to stay in the EU for the railway industry but the railway only forms part of the story of the vote.
    As the railway is the only area within the EU where we are all interdependent on each other it is probably why the answers are all similar.

  2. FLAVIO MATSUYAMA says:

    I think BREXIT vote results will not impact on the standards adopted in Britain, because train interoperability must be kept.
    Besides, I believe it is not reasonable to have a british standardization team to ellaborate rail standards, to be used only in internal projects. Some areas to be regulated would have experts lack, if international cooperation would not be allowed.
    Remain in EU seems to be the only window to keep exchange of knowledge, vital for the railway area on the Britain.
    So if BREXIT suceeds, foreign rail experts would leave Britain, meaning an important gap for future rail projects.

  3. Bob Langdon says:

    For too long we have allowed unskilled and so called skilled labour to work on the Railway Networks, this has not only reduced wages for British workers but driven down Safety Standards and increased risks by basically putting poorly trained people who cannot read, write or speak English onto the Networks putting themselves and others at risk.
    Come out of Europe to improve Standards and Wages.

  4. Peter Schneider says:

    I wouldn’t expect major implications for the rail sector either way. Railway operators always had to make international agreements, for obvious reasons. However, more harmonisation would be beneficial at present (e.g. train control systems).
    In other areas however, there is certainly a tendency for over-regulation from the EU (the shape of bananas being a famous example). Almost every European I know is fed up with this nonsense; not just British people. Administrations, whether on the national or European level, seem to have a tendency to create extra work for themselves. Therefore, I would suggest an Europe-wide campaign to reign in this ever-growing bureaucracy and get decision-making back to national or in fact local level, where appropriate. Reverting back to pure nationalism, as most Brexit campaigners want, is not the way forward.
    The wider picture is one of global politics. Europe (which, geographically, includes Britain and Ireland) has been one of the most peaceful and stable regions on earth for 70 years. It is not perfect, but I dare to say that, on average, peace and human rights are more respected here than on most other continents. Therefore, any move that weakens Europe could bolster emerging economies with a less happy record in this regard.

  5. Rupert Dyer says:

    The comments on the impact of Brexit on franchising seem way off the mark. Remember that other non-EU organisations – notably MTR – have been bidders and successful operators in franchises already, while going back to privatisation all the freight businesses were sold to a US short line haulier. I can’t see that changing one jot whether we are in or out.

    Maybe more importantly it’s not a level playing field anyway, just because we are in the EU. Witness the problems that NEG (and previously Arrive before DB eliminated them by an outright purchase!) have had in bidding for PSO contracts in Germany. That might also explain why most German rolling stock orders magically go to Siemens and most French ones to Alstom.

    I’m not arguing one way or the other, but I think the impact of Brexit on commercial realities is very limited. The key possibility that Brexit would open is the prospect of leaving the EU Railway Reform packages and reversing vertical integration. But a Conservative government (or probably Labour for that matter) is highly unlikely to go down that road, and we should remember that the UK led the way in privatisation before the EU reforms commenced and is still waiting for Europe to catch up!

  6. Ian Baldry says:

    Although EU legislation relating to “Public Transport Sector” has numerous flaws and discrepancies causing hindrance to UK Public Transport operators from a personal prospective for future generations of the UK a “Britexit” would have devastating consequences with the three just men Johnson Gove and Farage taking control!

  7. I spent several years as the UK representative on the ERTMS Users Group at a time when the UNISIG companies were writing the ERTMS Specifications. You will not be surprised to learn that I am a committed European and will be voting Remain.
    I am not sure what the problems for railways would be if the vote is to Leave but feel sure that it would be far better if we were to Remain.

  8. Richard Skelton says:

    No, leaving the EU will have little negative effect and may have some positive if the UK Government decide to promote the rail industry without the interference of the EU

  9. Peter van der Mark says:

    Issue 1) Rationally speaking parties concerned with Brexit in majority announce that the pound will fall and that the economy will suffer. As a foreseeable consequence importing know-how and hardware will be more expensive whilst the available finances drop. Railway projects (HS2) will be curtailed or dropped.
    Issue 2) From the above: even if railways turned out recession proof up to now, the use of the railways will drop. Certainly if they remain as expensive as they are now. Franchise keys will be handed in, state may take over certain services, railway unions will be happy.
    Issue 3) Because the cost of driving cars will rise for similar reasons outlined above, there will be resurgence of serious overloading on the fewer services that still operate. Rail travel comfort declines and aggression will rise.

    Brexit is a serious disaster awaiting to happen.

  10. Steven Holt says:

    The over-riding concern for me is that the EU is not democratically accountable. Most people cannot name the ‘Five Presidents,’ and have no idea how much power over our lives they wield. Most importantly, they cannot be removed as they have not been elected. It has taken us hundreds of years to achieve a situation whereby we can remove our leaders without bloodshed. EU governance is not accountable to the people and, therefore, its leaders cannot be removed. More than 70% of all our laws now emanate from the EU and there is nothing we can do about it. There is nothing to prevent transnational agreements, standards and co-operation after we leave the EU. The EU did its best to destroy our railway industry by forcing us to adopt a very poor privatisation model. Now we pay about four times as much for largely the same railway as in BR days. Is that a good deal for taxpayers?

    • Peter van der Mark says:

      The E.U. is not “democratically accountable”. This comes from a citizen in a nation with a silly first past the post system that saddled us with a government for which 23% of the citizens voted, as much as the very substantial minority who didn’t vote for Brexit will see their future wasted by the small majority that believed the lies about immigration and commercial advantages that taking back control would bring. Explain the democracy of that process please! The EU is at least as democratic as the British political system.

    • Peter van der Mark says:

      That is not talking about that the EU appears undemocratic because no one was interested in the elections of the British MEP’s. You realise that we actually voted for these boys and girls?

    • Paul says:

      Yes Peter we voted for the MEPs but we didn’t get a vote for the President or the European Council or the European Commission. Yet hey decide our taxes and laws and tell us how to organise and build our railways.

      Recently there was an opportunity to change the first past the post voting system in UK and the people chose not to. So you think people are silly but that’s democracy for you – the worst form of government apart from all he others.

      So in your view the “small majority” should be ignored whilst the large minority get their way?

  11. My opinion is that when UK exit from EU then all european transport operators must recreated plans and projects..
    I know that We must prepare a security plans for future…
    Today We don’t know who will be next..

  12. Giuseppe Saracino says:

    Yes, I agree, the actual reality for Europe is not perfect, at all it is not!
    But, when there is a crisis all European states move together. All young people wherever they are, share same passions. So, Europe is our HOME but definitely to be improved, to be fixed, together in equality.

  13. Theodoros says:

    I am in full agreement with Mark

  14. Zlatko Preskakulev says:

    Dear all

    Yes, Brexit – living out but to be present in E.U. space like superior country ex-member of E.U. With great sense of soft feelings to “EX-WIFE E.U” and more Energy and Motivations for each citizen in the UK!!!!

    I am for Solution and better future for UK and others in E.U to keep going forward not to argue each others and talking instead working for himself and Community!!!

    Why?

    1/ Historical – UK is taking his way to World, dated many centuries and confirmed that is not alone but do not feel the presence of others as well!

    2/ Progress – it is not easy things to take because it takes time and efforts, as we can see UK taking different that others in E.U. mean better and faster than others!

    3/ Standard – it is not “photo on the Wall” , it is centuries of hard working, happening this day without results by each side in E.U. members.

    4/Future – to achieve main goals, not means to taking money by others as good “sports journey”, not means to screaming for funds, not means to give yourself with yours imperfect things, as and like a member to EU by others members to the UK.

    So, I hope that it should be better in sense of moving forward like locomotive of development by UK. clean situation when solidarity is good manner not only obligation for each member and to be in Future means to be for sure in REALITY OF THIS WORLD, which foundation posted so strong in last 300 years of progress and developing in the World! Long Live Great Britain!

    Thanks for opportunity and my best wishes to people of UK!!
    Mr. Zlatko Preskakulev Serbia

  15. Christian Schang says:

    As an French infrastructure manager employee, involved in many projects and as a former international director, i will give you my point of view. The development of the railway is a big need for everybody and needs “working together”. on projects, on innovation, on specification and to interoperate through all Europe. That needs funds. and national funds are not suffisant and relevant enough. So i am convinced that remaining in the EU for all the countries is fundamental for the development of the railway of each country and to integrate more efficiently one main issue for the next decade: the sustainable development. So for it is for UK. hope really you will make it folks.

    • Richard Skelton says:

      Where do the funds come from if not the nation? Unless you give the EU the powers to raise taxes on everybody, its funds come from a nation state. You are only robbing Peter to pay Paul. Why should tax payers in the far north of Scotland pay for rail infrastructure in Greece?

  16. Peter O'Neill says:

    Everyone who understands how the EU works and has grasped the implications of leaving has come out in support of Remaining. The Brexit supporters are motivated by xenophobia and nostalgia, and seek to find logical justification for their emotional position.
    The need to re-erect a frontier between Northern Ireland and the Republic would mean that, deprived perhaps of a legal right to come to the UK to work, many of them will seek to do so illegally and so would find it easy to travel to the Republic and take a small boat overnight around either end of the frontier. And the French, who suffer so much in helping to deter illegal cross-Channel migrant, would stop even trying and could not be blamed if they were simply to help them on their way.
    The implications for Eurostar services are evident, but what about Scotland? Another referendum there could well lead to Scotland joining the EU, the Schengen agreement, and adopting the euro, and the effect on transport between England and Scotland, with a new frontier control to pass, would be appalling. As for Anglo-Scottish rail services….

    Europhile

  17. In rail transport terms, the UK most certainly should remain within the EU. Internationally, ongoing rail network integration is a fundamental aspect of sustainable worldwide economic expansion. We need to embrace common operational standards, evolved from progressive collective understanding.
    The UK would not have considered the need for a referendum if we had a more universal self belief and determination when it comes to meeting the needs of the likes of rail in the UK and integration beyond its borders. UK rail (indeed UK transport) desperately needs a politically neutral, independent strategic body, sustainably managed and funded, to achieve comprehensive UK wide public transport investment and corresponding European rail network integration.

  18. Kamill Hamawand says:

    Interoperability Directive is here to make rail transport easier, cheaper and more secure for both rail users and managers. This can only be achieved through harmonization of railway infrastructure and railway standards and by a strong internal cooperation between Member States in the EU.

    • Paul says:

      Yes, yes but as you know Great Britain IS an island and the special requirements of the channel tunnel dominate the requirements for the any interoperability. This means we are forced to spend money to comply and show that we comply to standards which are irrelevant to any train that operates in GB. This is just an example of one size does NOT fit all within EU

    • Peter van der Mark says:

      Paul’s answer on this reasonable assessment overlooks the fact that the European loading gauge tracks already are established within Kent and Essex along HS1 and could easily, if expensively, be extended in any direction deemed necessary on “The Island”, as is in fact the plan with HS2. But, Paul, be comforted by the thought that in all likelihood the money to do so will no longer be available in case of Brexit.

  19. Stefan Schmitz says:

    It’s not about facts. Brexiters are neitehr interested nor do they believe in facts, so don’t waste time explaining the truth to them. Just make very clear that there is no way back with better conditions if ever things turn sour. Out means out!

  20. Klaus Riessberger says:

    Brits have to decide whether they are Europeans or not.
    To form a European unity does not allow for “raisin-picking” or act for advantages ever.
    Britain may have a great history, but the presence is not so splendid. The state of the value-creating industry is not impressive and the railways go with it.
    A possible Exit from EU will leave the UK on the float, and I wished they would not be drowned.

  21. Should continue EU membership

  22. Herbert Wancura says:

    First of all, I think the article is quite well balanced and at least seems to aim at objectivity. This is not something that can be said for all reports that I have seen on the subject of BREXIT.
    On the rail sector, I believe there will be changes if Britain decides to leave the European Union. For one, participation by UK establishments in research and technology development will be at least more difficult if not simply impossible. I also tend to agree with one of the assessments, i.e. that a “leave” vote will create uncertainty and that typically does not bode well for a positive investment climate, particularly in long-term locked-in investments like rail infrastructure and rolling stock. On the other hand it does also free some contraints a common market by definition imposes and used creatively it may also open new opportunities. Given Britain’s unique rail situation, it is hard to judge if these developments will lead to higher costs, although I am inclined to believe they will.
    But the comments already made above show that the “Leave/Stay” question is also a very emotional theme and it is my impression that these emotions, more than any fact based assessment will drive the decision, which is , of course, a purely British one to take.
    I do find it somewhat sad that one member may wish to “leave the club” whom I personally find quite successful, although I am sure that many will disagree with me on that. But if you cannot go along with the development of the clubs statutes and bylaws, and you find yourself unable to change them in your direction then that is often the only consequence.

  23. Ian Banton says:

    I am a firm supporter of the remain camp. As a lifelong internationalist, I feel that the European Union has been good for long term stability within Europe.

  24. Paul says:

    It was the EU that forced the separation of operator from infrastructure which added cost and complexity. Yet there is no evidence in UK or wider Europe that it has been successful in improving access to rail or overcoming national borders.
    It is the EU that forces us to raise bridges and platforms at vast cost and then pay a separate organisation at more cost to certify that they meet arbitrary standards for interoperability for trains that are never ever going to run in UK.
    It was the EU procurement rules that forced the Thameslink train orders to go to Siemens in Germany rather than Derby.

    • Peter van der Mark says:

      Sorry Paul, the only thing the EU asked was to separate accounts for running trains and operating the infrastructure in order to give prospective open access operators the chance to see what running trains would cost. The rest in your complaint is the British government who is to praise or blame. And orders for new rolling stock going to the best offer is a normal commercial process, which, because there no longer is a “true” British train builder was a tie between a Canadian and a German manufacturer. In fact, the situation as it is within the EU has given a number of new manufacturers the chance to get into the market, such as Stadler of Switzerland, PESA of Poland and CAF of Spain. Why are there no British names? Has nothing to do with the EU is the only thing I know.

  25. Julian Bond says:

    Yes the EEC as it was I voted for as I saw a future with Europe. We could no longer continue as a separate country, the argument of maintaining indepandance to protect Strategic Industries has been a false tale since the Second World War, we share technologies, no one country can work on modern technologies alone. Say all this I still believe the UK will be better placed by being in than out. The EU has become a political entity, certainly issuing laws to be respected by member states, the issue here is the way the domestic British Government has applied these laws without any consideration of reality. That is the fault of the British Government not the EU. To consider that the british railway industry will suffer depends on the assurance to respect & continue to cooperate with European clients to international norms.

  26. michael robson says:

    Railways need to have common standards and in the past the UIC and individual railways produced them. Since the creation of the European Railway Agency much of this work has transferred to them. The UK currently has a seat on the Board of the ERA and a large number of UK railwaymen participate in the working groups developing these standards if we leave the EU we would not be involved in developing these standards and we would need to develop our own which would be a barrier to entry for firms wishing to work in the UK, possibly putting up costs and a barrier to entry to UK firms wanting to work in Europe which could have an effect on jobs.

  27. I agree with Mark Watts’s opinion.

  28. Terry Kight says:

    I voted to join on the grounds that it would be for trade only, as it has turned out we have as a country been overwhelmed with rules and regulations which have swamped us in every aspect of our lives, Mr. Cameron is telling blatant lies and whichever way this vote goes he is finished as leader of the Tory Party. Most of the working time regulations were created by this country after the Clapham rail crash, working conditions also started life in this country.
    The EU exports more to Britain and in or out they will want to continue.
    If I had time I could go on all day about reasons to leave, but time marches on and even Mr. Cameron cannot stop that.

    • Peter van der Mark says:

      You should have informed yourself about a few arguments against Brexit mate, all the things you state have been wholly proven to be nonsense. Why don’t you just admit it’s foreigners having any influence here at all is what drives you and all the Brexiteer rest!

  29. D Hamm says:

    Well, the “coin” has two or even more surfaces.
    1. The British should of course decide for themselves!
    But, once out there will not be a “fast track” re-entry.
    2. To me, from “outside” view, the arguments we hear and read are sometimes really frightening or simplified. Often quite “brown” or even worse.
    3. I like the British so it would be good to see GB within Europé and not as an isolated island more isolated than Switzerland.

  30. Terry Kight says:

    The only downside of any outcome will be the vindictiveness of the Government, I personally will vote out and I don’t see any long term problems with the railways.

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