Rail white paper 'keeps status quo'
Press Association: 20 Feb 2008
The Government's rail White Paper is "not about helping the railways at all", a former British Rail safety chief has told MPs.
Instead, the White Paper was "about keeping the status quo and moving forward on things that don't cost a lot," said Peter Rayner.
Now a consultant and expert on rail operations and safety, Mr Rayner told the House of Commons Transport Committee that the Government had been wrong not to seriously look at electrification projects in the White Paper.
Rail strategy fails to tackle waste of privatisation, RMT tells MPs
RMT: February 20 2008
THE GOVERNMENT’S 30-year rail strategy fails to tackle the structural problems and long-term waste and inefficiency created by privatisation, the leader of Britain’s biggest rail union told MPs today.
Giving evidence to the Transport Select Committee, RMT general secretary Bob Crow pointed out that the government had ignored the committee's 2004 recommendation to create a new public-sector railway agency 'given all the powers required to manage the entire rail system'.
Renewing the union's call for the railways to be brought back into public ownership, he said that passengers and rail workers were being made to pay the price of privatisation
"The government's £1 billion cut in funding over the next five years will see passengers paying through the nose with increased fares, while train operators continue to make massive profits," Bob Crow said.
"Ever-higher rail fares and the refusal to develop high-speed rail north of the capital will not help the fight against climate change.
"Government plans to introduce 1,300 carriages and new high-speed trains should be a golden opportunity to protect what is left of British train manufacturing, and those trains should be built in Britain.
"There is no still industry-wide forum to address issues such as skills, training and staff assaults, or to discuss the report of the Railway Pensions Commission, and Network Rail's unilateral decision to launch an inferior pension scheme is an attempt to sabotage those discussions," Bob Crow said.