In March 2006, the Rail Regulator made a controversial decision to award open access rights to a new train operator on the east coast route. A 10-year franchise had been granted to GNER on this route in 2005 on the assumption that there would not be competition from open access operators. This article examines this decision, concluding that it reflects confusion over responsibilities and the government's ambivalent attitude to rail privatization. Alternatives to the current 'malaise' are suggeste
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