The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 7th September 2018

Off the rails

THE DEMAND for Britain’s railways to be taken back into public ownership reached a crescendo last month with passenger complaints over shoddy services and soaring prices peaking over the collapse of the Virgin Trains East Coast franchise and the recent rail timetabling chaos concerning Northern Rail, Southern and Thameslink services. They have, once again, highlighted the shambles of our privatised rail network. But what is the Tory government’s response to the public outcry?

Yet another “independent” review into rail franchising that has been rendered meaningless from the start because the Government has ruled out any restoration of public ownership of the railways.

Mick Cash, the leader of the RMT rail union says: “You don’t need a body scanner to work out that this is just a transparent attempt by the Tories to try and kick the privatised chaos on Britain’s train franchises into the long grass for a year. It won’t work as it’s clearly a desperate stunt by a Government clutching at straws which is ideologically opposed to the British people owning and running their railways.

“The only solution to the current rail franchise shambles is an end to private greed and a return to public ownership. RMT will be stepping up the fight to kick the spivs off the tracks, the strategy for the future supported by 70 per cent of the British people.”

The privatisation and de-regulation of public transport has been a disaster. It has shattered the national rail network into lots of little bits and pieces, put bus services into the hands of numerous rival companies -- all jostling with each other for the lucrative routes -- and made it nigh on impossible to plan or integrate transport services locally and nationally.

Labour has pledged to return the railways to public ownership. Speed the day by campaigning to bring the May government down to force an election and the return of a Corbyn-led Labour government that will restore the public sector that we once enjoyed.