ASLEF calls on Chris Grayling to come clean

10 August 2017

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, has challenged Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to come clean after the DfT announced that a Dutch/Japanese consortium has been awarded the West Midlands rail franchise.

The Secretary of State for Transport said rail passengers will get new, longer, trains with more seats, and more space, as nearly £1 billion is invested in services on the West Midlands network.

‘What I want to know is how much of that £1 billion investment is coming from the private company which has been awarded the franchise by Mr Grayling’s department? And how much is coming from the taxpayer?

‘It’s time for Mr Grayling to come clean about where the money is coming from. We should be told how much public subsidy this private company will receive – directly and indirectly – from the public purse so it can make a private profit.

‘The truth is this government – and the train operating companies – try to blur the truth at every turn. They talk about risk and reward but there is no risk, only reward. The private companies reap their profits by overcharging passengers and by getting public investment from the hard-pressed taxpayer.’

West Midlands Trains, a joint venture between Abellio, the East Japan Railway Company and Mitsui, will take over the franchise from London Midland, the current operator, in December. London Midland is owned by Govia, which also owns embattled Southern Rail.

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