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Aug 2005 - Freight on Rail - Doing nothing is not an option

01 June 2013

A week after ASLEF members lobbied the House of Commons, Alistair Darling produced a written statement to the House of Commons about Freight on Rail. My first impression is that the Minister for Transport seems rather more relaxed about the situation than he could be. Or should be. Firstly,...

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Sept 2005 - Railtrack wants public subsidies ... but not public accountability

01 June 2013

Network Rail exists as a publicly-owned enterprise because its predecessor Railtrack deconstructed after the Hatfield rail crash laid bare the failure of the business to carry out its core functions. Maintaining and replacing the railway infrastructure is not rocket science. In some ways it is an even more complicated...

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Oct 2005 - Democracy not autocracy

01 June 2013

I can’t help feeling that the most telling speech of last month’s Labour Party conference was made by a man who was not a delegate, and whose contribution amounted to a single word. The man was Walter Wolfgang. The speech was: ‘Rubbish!’ Walter, you will recall, was the 82...

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Nov 2005 - Rail sale good news for lawyers

01 June 2013

I admit it. I’ve made a mistake. I have previously said in this column that rail privatisation only benefited a few fat-cat businessmen. I was wrong. I’d forgotten about lawyers. For lawyers, selling off rail was a bonanza. For them, Christmas now comes early and often. Rail privatisation is...

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Dec 2005 - Body scanners are a warning, not a solution

01 June 2013

Transport Secretary Alistair Darling has announced that some British rail and Underground stations will, early next year, install airport-style checks using body scanners and X-ray machines for increased security. ASLEF supports all reasonable measures for improving the security of our members and the traveling public – but we also...

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