James Collins interviewed by Chris Kinchin-Smith

Chris Kinchin-Smith

Oral history interview with James Collins, conducted and recorded by Chris Kinchin-Smith at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, London on 14 January 2019. Duration: 1 hr. 24 min. 55 sec. Personal background; early career; Traffic Management Training Scheme 1977; Area Manager Plymouth 1984; sectorisation; Personal Assistant to Bob Reid 1 1987; involvement with Clapham accident; vertical integration; Director Thameslink train operating unit (TOU); Network SouthEast (NSE); general election 1992; privatisation; Thameslink 2000; John Nelson; Informed Traveller project; National Rail Enquiries Service (NRES); management buyout (MBO) bid; British Telecom (BT); joined Railtrack; Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL); Thameslink 2000; East London Line (ELL) upgrade; Strategic Rail Authority (SRA); proposal to increase franchise terms; Railtrack’s relationship with customers; focus on share price; investment; Thameslink performance since privatisation; GoVia; First Group; personal impact of privatisation; reflections

One of over 150 oral history recordings made as part of the Britain’s Railways All Change (BRAC) archive project. BRAC was set-up to cover gaps in documenting the railway privatisation process in the United Kingdom, between 1994 and 1997, when the government-owned British Rail was dismantled into over 100 privately-owned companies. The interviews capture the recollections of people involved in the planning and implementation of the privatisation process, the management of change and running the railway during privatisation.


Oral Histories
Object Number:
oral history interview
Courtesy of Jim Collins. Britain’s Railways All Change (BRAC) oral history archive, created in partnership with the Friends of the National Railway Museum, the Retired Railway Officers’ Society and the National Railway Museum.