Let Network Rail Run Passenger Services, says RMT
RMT: November 10 2007
THE RE-SHUFFLE of rail franchises set to take place on November 11 will not solve the structural problems blighting Britain’s railway network, the industry’s biggest union says.
On the eve of a massive shake-up of several rail franchises (see note below), RMT renewed its call for Network Rail to be given the opportunity to show that it can operate passenger services more efficiently than the franchising system.
“The continued failure of rail franchising stands in stark contrast to the improvements made by Network Rail as a publicly-owned and not-for-dividend company,” RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said.
“It is only a few months since the Transport Select Committee concluded that no amount of tinkering could resolve the fundamental flaws in the franchising system.
“Network Rail has delivered real improvements in efficiency and safety, the more so it brought most maintenance back in-house, but the franchise system offers only fragmentation, confusion, ever-higher fares and a squeeze on passengers, services and rail workers alike.
“It would make sound sense to extend Network Rail’s success story to passenger operations, and at the very least the government should allow it the opportunity to prove itself.
“Ending franchising would allow the huge sums currently being taken out of the industry by the private sector to be re-invested in the railway and ease the way to more affordable fares, and it would finally allow an end to the fragmentation imposed by the Tories.
“After imposing rail privatisation on us in the first place, the Tories are now proposing to do even more damage by breaking up Network Rail and dividing up the infrastructure among the privateers.
“They call it vertical integration, but in fact it is a recipe for more dangerous fragmentation, when what is needed is the re-integration of our railways into a sensible whole,” Bob Crow said.
For further information contact Derek Kotz on 020 7529 8803 or 07939 595 092
Note to editors: The current Central Trains, Silverlink, and Midland Mainline franchises (all currently run by National Express), will be redrawn into the East Midlands, West Midlands, and London Rail franchises, which will be operated by Stagecoach, Govia and MTR-Laing, and the Cross Country franchise is to be transferred from Virgin to Arriva