Government has no strategy for rail

29 September 2016

The Department for Transport today announced the direct award of a three year contract extension to CrossCountry franchise operator Arriva. The German state backed rail company will now run the service until October 2019.

Commenting on the news ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan said ‘today’s announcement is yet another reminder that the rail franchising model has failed. It shows that four years on from the West Coast franchise debacle, government rail policy remains in disarray. Direct awards are the new normality in the rail industry and only entrench short termism and under-investment.

Mick added ‘I’m also concerned about management contracts such as GTR Southern where there is not even direct award only public risk. Today’s news highlights the total absence of leadership or guidance in the rail industry. There is only managed decline masquerading under the guise of retrospective investment. When is the government going to start delivering for the taxpayer and travelling public? Safety and security must come before failed dogma."

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