Rail passengers up – McNulty ‘unhappy’

09 May 2011

Rail passenger journeys increased by almost 5% in the first three months of 2011 compared with 2010, totalling 316 million journeys. Yet in spite of this success story, the impending McNulty Report to government is, according to industry briefings attended by the union, likely to be full of doom, gloom and misery. ‘It would take a special person to remain in moan mode while passenger figures increase, punctuality improves, journey times decrease and delays drastically reduce,’ said ASLEF’s general secretary Keith Norman. ‘But I think the government might have found just the man.'

GIVING THE TRACK TO THE TOCs

The union particularly warns against McNulty’s likely proposals to give train operators (TOCs) control of the infrastructure (‘vertical integration’). He is expected to argue that this should be introduced right away in Merseyside, Scotland, Greater Anglia, South West, Southern, Southeastern, the Western region and Wales.

ASLEF believes reintroducing the profit motive into the maintenance of infrastructure would be a very dangerous step. Why? In a word – ‘Railtrack’. How many times do we need to make the same mistake? Do we really want safety standards to be decided by accountants? The maintenance of the track must remain under public control.

DOWNGRADING RURAL SERVICES

We are also very wary about expected proposals to ‘downgrade’ rural services. ‘Downgrading’ is a businessman’s way of saying ‘a services that is inconvenient, more cramped and even less attractive’.

‘Ask people on rural lines how much downgrading they think their line can take,’ says Keith. ‘We certainly will.’

LEVELS OF INCOME

Sir Roy is also likely to say he is troubled about how much some railway people get paid.

So is ASLEF. And we are thinking about people like:

Arriva’s David Martin (£743,635)

First’s Moir Lockhead (£643,000)

Go-Ahead’s Keith Ludeman (£916,000)

National Express’ Ray O’Toole (£644,000) 

Stagecoach’s Brian Souter (£762,000)

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