Economics of Regulation UK Railway Industry

The UK railway industry was deeply reformed in the early 90s. Ending the previous vertically integrated public monopoly, the 90s reform combined privatization with a radical reorganization of the industry based on competition for the market and vertical separation. Very recently (2021-22) the government announced a plan to deeply reform the industry again, ending some of the crucial characteristics of the industry introduced by the 90s reform.

The academic papers below describe and critically assess the 90s reform. The media articles below, report the main points of the recent government plan, and critically assess it. Please read these papers and use your knowledge of the module topics to critically discuss the following:

– The main reasons and goals of the 90s reform;
– The role of competition for the market, vertical separation, and price regulation in this reform;
– The main problems shown by the resulting industry organization since the application of the 90s reform, as evidenced by the academic literature (after having illustrated them, you may decide to go deeper on some of them);
– The reasons and goals of the recent government reform plan and its likely effects (again, you may decide to deepen some of them);
– Any other interesting aspect of the regulation of this industry you may have noticed from your readings.

Please, give your essay a well-organized structure (i.e., use sections).

Academic papers:

[1] Shaoul, J. (2007) Leasing passenger trains: the British experience. Transport Reviews, Vol. 27, 189-212.

[2] Tyrrall, D. (2004) The UK railway privatisation: failing to succeed? Oxford: Institute of Economic Affairs.

[3] Yvrande-Billon, A. and C. Menard (2005) Institutional Constraints and organizational changes: the case of British rail reform. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Vol. 56, 675-699.

Short media articles:

[4] I. Grasso Macola, Explained: the end to the rail franchising system in the UK, Railway technology, 23 September 2020.

[5] Main points of the 2021 Williams-Shapps plan for rail. Abstract from:

[6) Criticisms of the Williams-Shapps plan. The Guardian: 16 May 2021 & 10 January 2022.




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