Mick slams government over NR debt

05 July 2016

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, has slammed the government after it was revealed that Network Rail’s debt has ballooned to more than £40 billion for the first time while train delays worsen on Britain’s ageing railway system.

Mick said: ‘We are concerned that Network Rail’s debt has increased by 10% in the last 12 months and we are concerned about infrastructure projects being pushed back from control period 5 to control period 6. The government needs to get a grip on the rail industry. Its hands off approach means we have failing franchises and failing infrastructure as well as failing politicians. Passengers are being sold short, and taxpayers are being short changed, by the utter incompetence of Patrick McLoughlin and Claire Perry at the DfT. Frankly, Britain deserves better.’

Network Rail, in its report, admits it fell short of key targets for train punctuality,financial performance, and customer satisfaction and says that parts of Britain’s railways, some of which are almost 190 years old, are now full. Passengers, it says, face ‘increasing problems with delays and congestion.’

Mick added: ‘The reality is that we have suffered from decades of under-investment and this, coupled with rising passenger numbers, is placing a huge strain on what is still, effectively, a Victorian railway network. That’s why it’s time for the government to act.’

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