Overcrowding on Britain's trains

31 July 2017

Mick Whelan has put the blame for overcrowded commuter trains firmly where it lies – on privatisation – after new figures from the Department for Transport revealed the extent of the problem on Britain’s railways.


Mick, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, said: ‘If only we had cattle trucks instead of carriages then fare-paying passengers would be much better off! Because we have legislation – statutory protection – for animals being transported but not for passengers. Which is why so many trains are not just uncomfortable, but seriously overcrowded. It cannot be right that, after 20 years of privatisation, people travelling and working on our railways are treated like this.


‘These new figures from the DfT underline what we have said all along – that there is no long-term strategy, no long-term planning, and no long-term thinking, among the privatised train operating companies. They are only in the railway business to make a quick buck.


‘The train companies say they need more time to sort it out but they’ve already had more than 20 years, since the railways were privatised, to provide enough trains for passengers to get the seat for which they have paid!


‘Privatisation of the railways has failed. Even Margaret Thatcher admitted it was one privatisation too far. Since privatisation fares have soared, taxpayer subsidies have risen, rolling stock has got older and overcrowding got worse.


‘We need – and the people in this country deserve – a properly integrated, properly managed, publicly owned railway. That’s what Jeremy Corbyn has promised and these new figures from the DfT prove that point. By bringing our railway back into public ownership, the Labour Party will be putting a fragmented system back together, which will allow better management of capacity and resources across our whole network, not on a company by company, franchise by franchise, area by area, basis.


‘And investment in electrification and new lines such as the proposed additional Brighton main line will also relieve the unacceptable levels of overcrowding.’

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