Frothy cappuccino – or a safe railway?

01 May 2009

‘Frothy cappuccino – or a safe railway?’ That was the question posed on tens of thousands of leaflets distributed at stations all over the country by ASLEF members last month. The union was taking part in the International Transport Federation (ITF) rail safety day on 28 April.


The leaflets publicised the fact that the government has put aside £30 billion to build more shops and cafes so that stations will look nicer – while Network Rail (which is owned by the government) – decided to cut the frequency of track inspections and routine signals maintenance by a staggering 28%. We asked commuters, ‘Would you sooner have supermarket in the station – or someone servicing the track and the signals?’


We called on rail minister Lord Adonis to insist that Network Rail carries out all the maintenance and safety work it had planned on the network during 2009 – and to fund it if necessary.


‘Network Rail planned that work because it believes it is necessary for passenger safety.


It is utterly irresponsible to drop it now in order to save money,’ said general secretary Keith Norman.


We asked passengers who shared our view to drop Lord Adonis an email ( and to ask their local MP to support Stroud MP David Drew’s call in Parliament to reverse the cuts.


Pictures show ASLEF members leafleting at Birmingham New Street, Doncaster, Bristol, London St Pancras, London Liverpool Street and London Waterloo:











London Liverpool Street (pic: Els Dekker)



London St Pancras (pic: Els Dekker)



London Waterloo (pic: Els Dekker)

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