Yeah. We all voted our respective ways on the sole basis of future electrification of the railways! Election fraud indeed. OTT comment to say the least.
What you miss out in your post is reference to the incompetence of Network Rail, that publically funded organisation, which has been in charge of the electrification project from day one. Spiralling costs and planned work overshooting its deadlines have caused the electrification programme to be paused (accordingto the government, and not abandoned) because, at the end of the day, it is public money that is going into this programme. It is absolutely right and proper that the government should question the spending of public money by a publically funded organisation.
I was being deliberately facetious. However Gideon was being somewhat disingenuous if he knew about the financial situation before the election but held back the decision to shelve the upgrade plans until after the election.
Network rail’s problems date back to its predecessor, Railtrack. When it took over the running of the rail infrastructure it made a large number of very experienced managers redundant in the drive for “efficiency” (or penny pinching, depending on your point of view, that eventually lead to the likes of the Hatfield, Potters Bar, Ladbroke Grove etc. disasters), the sort of people they are now struggling to find to run the various upgrade programmes.
As I have said many times before I am not against the private sector; I've worked in it all my life, I just don’t think some privatisations are in the best interest of the British public, the railways being one of them. It is far too fragmented and inefficient. For example, every time there is a delay that can be attributed to Network Rail the TOCS involved are entitled to claim financial compensation. What happens however is that Network Rail more often than not will dispute the claim. The result of this is that the TOCS and Network Rail all employ an army of lawyers and accountants to chase and challenge these claims. The whole process takes months to resolve and adds millions to the overall cost of running the railway. On top of all that there is no accountability to the consumers of the service, the passengers, and a major supplier of that service, Network Rail. Likewise, there is no accountability to the passengers from the owners of the rolling stock as this is all owned by a small number of leasing companies. And, as demonstrated by the recent events with Trans Pennine Express, this lack of accountability really doesn't act in the interest of the passenger. Those who seek to defend the rail privatisation shambles often point to the low operating margins posted by the TOCS as some sort of justification. And yes, at 5-10% they are pitifully low. However, their returns are a reflection of the negligible risk these companies are taking. The franchise models are back loaded, meaning that the TOC only pays any appreciable return to the government in the final year or so of a franchise period, therefore, the taxpayer bears the brunt of the financial risk for the majority of the franchise period. They also don't have to take ownership of any assets, the rolling stock being owned by just three UK leasing companies, whose profit margin never comes up in these discussions. The only thing most TOCS "own" is the workforce it employs, and they are shipped from franchise to franchise. The current system really does "socialise the risk and privatise the profit". All this at the same time gobbling up far more in government subsidy than in BR's day while charging the passenger an extortionate amount (an eye watering £309 std return Liverpool - London ).
Then there is the RSP (if you don’t know what the RSP is then I suggest you do some research before continuing this debate, as you obviously really don't know much about the railways or how they work), which again costs the railway system millions of pounds extra each year to administer.
And then there’s the "improvement" in service. In the "bad old days" of BR I could catch a direct train from Liverpool to: Southampton, Winchester, Cardiff, Holyhead, Glasgow, Edinburgh, York, Newcastle (off the top of my head, there are probably others) which you can no longer do. Progress hey?
So there you have it, less service for more money to both the passenger and taxpayer.