The British railway system was privatised from a previously state-owned organisation, British Rail, under a Conservative government during the mid 1990s. The track and infrastructure was devolved to a company called Railtrack, whilst ticketing and passenger and freight operations were sold off to individual operators. Despite the claims of the then administration that this privatisation would result in an improvement in passenger services, the converse is almost universally true, with an increased incidence in the number of fatal rail accidents (particularly the Paddington rail disaster and the Hatfield rail crash) resulting in significantly diminished passenger confidence in the safety of rail travel.
Moreover, under the nationalised system, ticketing was fundamentally seamless and it was possible to make through booking to any destination within the United Kingdom. Now, this no longer applies, and the official regulator the Office of the Rail Regulator has fined a number of operators for failing to provide adequate or accurate ticketing information.