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That's true, though note, that that was probably possible because the price tag grew into the sky in advance, so it was easier to not miss it.
Regarding policy chaos, political support for air and car-freedom, and viewing rail as a cash sink, I actually agree, but unfortunately Britain is not at all special in that. Since the middle nineties, in the EU, I would count only Spain as enthusiastic rail-builder, and even there, it's only long-distance and suburban, and roads and airports are built at an equally frenzied pace. Tax-free plane fuel and taxed rail travel is also an Europe-wide phenomenon, and this institutional 'market distortion' is a policy for half a century.
Also worth to mention: in some countries rail becomes a cash sink by design, due to corrupt connections between builders and politicians, which result in some pharaonic infrastructure with overcapacity, while branch lines that could draw passengers rot nearby. Top excamples are Italy and Greece.
But Britain indeed does stand out in privatised inefficiencies and marketista nonsense. Yet, unfortunately, not as an exception, but as a model to follow, a failed model to follow (I view it as thre best example that neoliberal dogmatism is as blind as that of the worst 'cxommunist' planned-economy statists). Only the state railways of France, Belgium, and in a different way (not government but unions & bosses) Austria and Italy seem to put up serious resistance to the idea, while Spain's Zapatero wants to limit it. But the marketista nonsense progressed far in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, and it also became EU policy (open-access, separation of tracks and traffic, cutting back national railway privileges, regions rather than states 'ordering' rather than providing public transport).
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
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