Supporters of nationalisation compare Britain’s railways unfavourably with those in other European countries, where the state plays a more active role. Yet, perhaps surprisingly, many countries on the continent see the British model as one to copy. EU rules that came into force in June require state-owned rail firms to open their tracks to rivals and legally separate the management of track and train, as in Britain. And although British rail-users are fed up, those elsewhere are crosser still. Only five EU countries have happier passengers (and most of them are in countries without many railway lines).
国有化的支持者将英国的铁路与其他欧洲国家的铁路进行了不利的比较，因为在其他欧洲国家，政府扮演着更为积极的角色 。然而，或许令人惊讶的是，欧洲大陆上的许多国家都将英国模式视为可以效仿的对象 。今年6月生效的欧盟规定，要求国有铁路公司向竞争对手开放轨道，并像英国一样，在法律上将轨道和火车的管理分开 。英国的铁路用户已经受够了，但其他地方的用户却更加愤怒 。只有5个欧盟国家的乘客感到幸福(而且大多数都在没有很多铁路线的国家) 。
Britons may scoff at the idea that they have anything to teach the world about railways. But they do. Passenger numbers have risen by almost 120% since privatisation, twice the increase in the next-best big country, Spain. This may be because other forms of transport have become more wretched: driving has got pricier, for instance. Yet anti-car policies have gone further in other countries, without an equivalent rail boom. Meanwhile, Britain has gone from having one of the most accident- prone railways in Europe to running its safest.
英国人可能会嘲笑他们在铁路方面有什么可以教给世界的 。但他们确实有 。自私有化以来，乘客人数增长了近120%，是排名第二的大国西班牙的两倍 。这可能是因为其他形式的交通工具变得更加糟糕：例如，驾驶变得更加昂贵 。虽然其它国家没有出现类似的铁路繁荣，但汽车限制政策反而发展地更好 。与此同时，英国已经从欧洲最容易发生事故的铁路之一，变成了运营最安全的铁路之一 。
Average British fares are by some way the highest in Europe. But European passengers pay less for their tickets mainly because they pay more through taxation. In France and Germany, taxpayers cover almost half the cost of train tickets, whereas the fares Britons pay fully cover the trains’ operating costs. Any argument for increasing subsidies must reckon with the fact that rail-users are, on average, a richer bunch than those who use other forms of transport, such as buses.
英国的平均票价在某种程度上位列欧洲最高 。但欧洲乘客的机票价格较低，主要是因为他们通过税收支付的更多 。在法国和德国，纳税人支付了近一半的火车票费用，而英国人支付的票价完全覆盖了火车的运营成本 。任何增加补贴的理由都必须考虑到这样一个事实：平均而言，铁路用户比那些使用其他交通工具(如公交车)的人更富有 。