East Coast

16 May 2018

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, said: ‘We welcome the decision by the Secretary of State for Transport today to bring the East Coast back into public ownership – at least temporarily, using the vehicle of Directly Operated Railways Ltd – and hope that he will now bring the rest of our railways back into public ownership, too.


‘Because this is the third time in ten years that a private company has messed up on the east coast main line. When it was run in the public sector, it returned more than £1 billion to the Treasury.


‘It’s important that staff, and passengers, are properly protected while, once again, the Transport Secretary tries to patch up a failing franchise system that everyone knows doesn’t work.


‘Britain’s railways should be run, successfully, as a public service, not for private profit. Because we now know that they cannot do it.’


Mick added: ‘It’s only sad that Tory dogma – wedded to the failed model of privatisation – means they will return this line to the private sector, doubtless to fail again. And when Failing Grayling talks about vertical integration, he’s right. Bringing the wheels and steel back together is the best option. But only under a publicly owned operator, not a private, profit-making company, more interested in dividends than safety. We only have to look at Railtrack to see the horrific consequences this can have.'

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