Britain was the first country in the world to successfully combine the power of high pressure steam and rail transportation. From this early 19th century invention things progressed rapidly all around UK and its neighbors and colonies. However, the networks were later nationalized and the era of very little progress succeeded the rapid expansion and development. Some results of this unfortunate event are still well visible to a foreign visitor today.
Today in U.K. the discussions are turning again to the development of the rail infrastructure and trains running it. With the first High speed line fully operational and serving the Channel Tunnel the UK is seriously considering what kind of modernization would be appropriate. Given at the starting point of in some parts obsolete infrastructure the current privately operated train companies are surviving miraculously well, including Eurostar Group, Virgin Trains, Great Northern, Keolis and several others. Today, the organizing of the British railroading could be a lesson to learn from to all other European countries, so well the competition is working in many cases!