Timetables, prices, even the types of trains used are all rigidly controlled from Whitehall, forcing train companies to run near-empty trains at the strangest times: a friend caught one running at midnight on New Year’s Eve, whose conductor was stunned to see a passenger. If Network Rail were broken up, and Whitehall’s tight control ended, train companies could be run more like low-cost airlines, with the savings handed back to passengers.
I'd be quite happy to run the Manningtree to Harwich line; in fact, I've even got a business plan. The express from London timed to link with the ferries at Parkeston Quay would pay to use my section of track, but only half the amount they're paying now, and running on the same heavy rail tracks would be lightweight rubber tyred stock, with a frequent service, a conductor, low fares and additional unmanned stops. Why not?