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RMT condemns 'bustitution' of Wolverhampton-Walsall Trains

RMT: 26 July 2005

BRITAIN'S BIGGEST rail union has condemned the Strategic Rail Authority's "Beeching-style" decision to replace Wolverhampton-Walsall local rail services with a "fast coach service" from next April.

The move, the first "bustitution" under new powers created by the 2005 Railways Act, was confirmed in the SRA's Route Utilisation Strategy for the West Midlands, which also takes a further step towards permanent closure of Wedgwood, Barlaston and Norton Bridge stations on the Stoke on Trent-Stafford line

"This is the thin end of the wedge we warned about when the Railways Act was debated in parliament, and it marks a sad day for Britain's railways, passengers and the environment," RMT general secretary Bob Crow said today.

"The original Beeching cuts also started by replacing trains with buses, and when the bus replacements were run down whole rural communities found themselves with no public transport links at all. 

"Rather than cutting rail services, spending billions on new roads and pouring huge sums into private operators' pockets we should be encouraging people out of their cars and investing in more and better railways," Bob Crow said.