Mick blasts Carne over Shaw report

18 March 2016

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, has criticised Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, for his inappropriate and partisan response to the Shaw Report.

Mick said: ‘Mark Carne is a civil servant, running a public sector body, paid by the taxpayer and working on behalf of the taxpayer. He is old enough, and should be intelligent enough, to know better than to start meddling in politically sensitive waters. It is not his place, or his position, to be saying these things.’

The Shaw report was smuggled out at 2pm on Wednesday, just after the Budget, in the hope nobody would notice. It was, the Treasury thought, a good way and a good day of keeping the findings quiet. But Mr Carne said: ‘I endorse her [Shaw’s] desire to see more private finance coming into the railways. I consider that more private money and funding from the people who will benefit from railway improvements is a sensible way to deliver a bigger and better railway.’

Mick said: ‘We know Network Rail isn’t perfect. Its governance needs to be improved and it needs to understand its asset base better – this latter point is a primary reason for the failures of its infrastructure upgrade. But every rail professional knows it’s the only show in town for the future of Britain’s railway.

‘There are enormous benefits to Britain in having Network Rail as a national, publicly-owned, properly integrated infrastructure organisation. Such a model is the best way to ensure a strategic, coherent and long-term approach to our railways.

‘A publicly-owned Network Rail can borrow more cheaply to invest – saving the Treasury and the taxpayer millions every year – and generate tremendous economies of scale through national level procurement.’

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