EU legislation has not assisted the sleepers in their battle with the planes and high-speed trains. Particularly unhelpful was 1995 Railway Directive 95/19, which required train operators to pay “track access charges” to infrastructure providers. The measure shone a harsh spotlight on loss-making services – such as the sleepers – raising the question: “Are they worth paying the charges?” The answer has frequently been: “No.”
Which is why we do such things of course. If something is making a loss it is making us all poorer. More value would be created by the same resources being used to do something else. Thus why we uncover the pricing of things, in order to work out what we should stop doing because it’s making us poorer.