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The Great Train Robbery?

40 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 16 November 2010

It's been dubbed the Great Train Robbery, but Allan Urry asks who's robbing who?
With fares set to rise, the programme examines why Britain's railways are so much more expensive than other European countries. Passengers in some parts of the UK complain they are caught out by a complex and confusing system of ticketing, which unfairly penalises them.
Does it have to be so difficult to find out what the restrictions are on your journey?
Why aren't there enough carriages for commuters travelling at peaks times? Overcrowding's got so bad, some are left behind on the platform.
Much of the criticism is aimed at the Train Operating Companies, but how much are they to blame? And why does Network Rail, the company responsible for the national infrastructure, soak up the bulk of the 5 billion pounds of taxpayer's subsidy, yet according to its regulator, is 40 per cent less efficient than its EU rivals?

Producer: Ian Muir-Cochrane.

  • Commuters 'priced off' railways

    Commuters 'priced off' railways

    With rail passengers facing big fare rises, and fears that already 'unacceptable' levels of overcrowding will worsen, one train operator says it is being forced to price customers off its peak time routes.

    Read Allan Urry's feature on the BBC website


    Why do Britain's railways cost more than elsewhere in Europe? Allan Urry investigates.

    Read the transcript


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