This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book focuses on the policy adopted to promote competition in the British railway industry at the time of its privatisation. It attempts to address research questions by drawing upon the experiences of key personnel involved in framing, executing and operating within the policy to augment existing secondary data. The book draws on more than 60 interviews with former Secretaries and Ministers of State for Transport, senior and mid-level civil servants, government advisors, industry experts, British Railways Board members and employees, industry regulators, franchise bidders and senior managers within the ‘new’ railway. It seeks to identify the circumstances in which competitive opportunities are available in the new railway structure, whether or not they are being exploited and why. The book outlines the key assumptions of neoliberal thought and explores the interaction between privatisation policy and abstract theoretical ideals.