No short cuts to save rural rail

30 June 2005

Commenting on the publication of the Commons Select Committee on transport report Rural Railways ASLEF acting general secretary Keith Norman agreed with the conclusions of the committee that rural railways required long term stable funding.

He said : "There are no short cuts to protecting past investment in Britain"s rail network. Rural lines are vital for the viability of rural communities, for the millions without personal transport, for the old, disabled and for children and young people.

They are vital for people travelling to work and can play a big part in stimulating tourism and leisure in country areas. But they are also vital a feeder lines to the main network.

ASLEF is firmly opposed to any attempts to lower infrastructure, signalling, track and safety standards or to substitute second class technology.

He went on to say "Tighter integration with bus services is valuable but we must be aware that privately owned combined rail and bus companies would like to abandon many railway lines and substitute bus services. But experience has taught us that "bustitution" does not offer a guaranteed service. That is why investment in maintaining network standards on rural railways is so important".

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