I should like to respond to Mr. Vilcinskas' letter in The Baltic Times issue #494, in which there is a comment on my earlier letter. There are some key points I should like to correct.
1. The U.K. infrastructure company Network Rail is a hybrid government-owned company operating "off the balance sheet" of the Treasury. It is responsible for raising its finance using its own income stream to do this. In my earlier letter I mentioned that they were raising 5 billion pounds through a bond issue in the City right now. This hybrid vehicle is also able to take part as an equity member of any private finance deal for new rail and is an equity partner in the nearly complete stage two of the privately financed Channel Tunnel Rail Link (see also The Financial Times of Feb. 17).
This entire process is NOT bad news 's it is a huge success.
2. There have been several accidents over the last 10 years, notably a suicide at a level crossing, a highway related accident and two for driver errors and two due to infrastructure failures. I hope we can all cut down accidents wherever they occur. I read the same story by accident throughout the European press.
3.On the last point, I have never ever promoted the U.K. model for anyone else. Each railway has its own characteristics, and will draw their own conclusions. What I did say was please don't knock a success for all the wrong reasons, or for prejudice. The U.K. railway is the fastest growing and profitable railway in Europe and probably far wider. The facts in my earlier letter speak for themselves.
I would not presume to suggest that the model of our predominantly passenger railway would satisfy Baltic conditions.