One thing I will say about re-opening Rail lines, The Manchester - Altrincham and Manchester - Bury lines that were converted to Light Rail (Manchester Metrolink) was a Disaster. Yes, it has improved ridership, because the stock is newer, however, the Capacity of the Trains is much lower, meaning the Trams are Over-crowded. They are also re-opening the Chorlton line which was a Rail Line. They should be converted back to Normal Rail lines.
I would agree with on that, also Tram-Train stock is a bad idea
Er, wot? Passenger numbers are now the highest ever, and infact were pretty flat throughout the BR period...I think holding 600m passengers on a network of 10,000 miles (c. 1970) is preferable to 700m on one of 14,000 (c. 1960).
Even if the railways were considered solely a public service they would still require managing to provide the best value for society. Why should we subsidise trains that run with less than 10% of their capacity used and where the carbon footprint per passenger is actually higher than driving? There's a reason that railways started in the coal industry...they are intended for bulk transport, not universal transport. I'm all for alternatives to the car, but rail isn't always the best, simply because it requires a big passenger flow to be going in one direction.
If the reopened railway provided a good service, then a lot of people would get out of their cars and into the the railways, we should accept that running a railway to a good standard is not cheap and the profits from all but busy mainlines (and communter routes) is not there.
Due to the mess caused by the government and by private transport groups, it is going to be expensive to fix for a long time
Also the bus network is in an even worse state
There's a compromise that needs to be taken between providing a public service and providing the best value for money. There are many places where it is simply too expensive to run a railway network, but where other forms of public transportation, like buses, are a better and cheaper alternative. That being said, of course the bus network in this country needs a massive improvement, but the solution isn't to replace them with trains.
With the system we got, it does not provide good value even now, we havw to accept that a lot of lines are loss making and will stay that way, hence we should think of the railways not as a business, but as a public service, a lot of the rail services are there for the sake of the public, not for profit
If you want a profitable network, you have to close all but main lines (and their major branches) and no one would want that
The rail network (even if we reopened all the lines that serve areas not currently served by National Rail) still would not reach every area served by buses, so we need investment in buses, but thats another story...