On the day Transport Secretary Grant Shapps launched the long-awaited Williams Rail Review, Bring Back British Rail’s Ellie Harrison was invited on BBC 2’s Jeremy Vine programme to debate the pros and cons of the ‘Great British Railways‘ proposal with Pete Waterman.
Today Scottish Transport Secretary Michael Matheson finally announced that the ScotRail franchise will be brought back into public ownership from 1 April 2022, when Abellio’s contract ends.
Thanks to everyone who signed our Make ScotRail Public petition, first launched the day after the Independence Referendum in September 2014. It has been a long fight, but we did it! Please share the good news on Facebook and Twitter.
1st March 2021 | News
Today the UK Government hikes rail fares in England and Wales by 2.6% – the first above inflation increase for seven years.
Meanwhile, they are busy trying to negotiate new ‘National Rail Contracts’ with a host of failed private train operating companies, which could lock us into this broken privatised system for decades to come.
Bringing all rail franchises back into public ownership would be simple, with the publicly-owned ‘Operator of Last Resort’ – which already runs LNER and Northern – ready to go. This could immediately enable fare cuts of 5%, and would ensure that our railways can be run in the interests of passengers and the environment to help get our country moving again as we emerge from the pandemic.
Please take action today by writing to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
Scrap the fare hikes
End the contract chaos
We need public ownership now
7th February 2021 | News
Today we celebrate the Wales & Borders franchise being brought back into public ownership by the Welsh Government, following 25 years of failed privatisation. Announcing the move on 22 October 2020, the Welsh Minister for Transport Ken Skates MS said this would provide the “most stable financial base to manage rail services as we emerge from the pandemic”.
The Welsh Government must have been listening to our #TakeBackOurTrains campaign. We have been saying since the start of this crisis, that returning rail to public ownership is the only sensible response – to prioritise safety, save public money and help improve services in the long-term. As Ken Skates went on to say: “a new publicly owned model… will allow [Transport for Wales] to continue to put customers and communities at the heart of everything they do, with safety as their first priority”.
Now the Scottish Government and the UK’s Department for Transport must stop bailing out the failing private rail companies running Britain’s other rail franchises and follow Wales’ lead.
As a result of our #TakeBackOurTrains campaign, Bring Back British Rail’s Ellie Harrison was invited onto talkRADIO to discuss with Ian Collins how we can use the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to build back a better railway that is run in passengers’ interests.
16th June 2020 | News
We have been campaigning for radical reform of our broken privatised railway system for more than a decade, amassing more than 150,000 supporters on our way. As passengers and employees it was clear that privatisation has left us with a more expensive, confusing and less reliable service, that costs taxpayers double to run (in real terms) than it ever did as publicly-owned British Rail.
The coronavirus crisis has thrown everything up in the air. With passengers being instructed to make essential journeys only. Suddenly the real absurdity of running our railway via multiple for-profit businesses was laid bare. On 23 March 2020, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps had to step in with Emergency Measures Agreements – further bailouts to the private Train Operating Companies – just to keep essential services running for our keyworkers.
These EMAs are up for renewal this September. We cannot afford to throw more and more public money away into broken privatised rail. The crisis provides the opportunity we have been waiting for to #TakeBackOurTrains. This will enable us to prioritise safety without needing to put profit-making ahead of social distancing. This will save public money, with the cost of extending EMAs likely to be far more than running services in-house under the ‘Operator of Last Resort’, which currently runs LNER and Northern after those franchises failed. And it will enable us to improve services in the long-term.
With all our Train Operating Companies finally back in public ownership, we can begin the long-overdue project of re-unifying our railways under one public company. This will allow us to provide the affordable, coherent and reliable service that our country needs to recover from this coronavirus crisis: rebuilding our economy and society, addressing the climate emergency and ensuring carbon emissions and air pollution never return to the toxic pre-lockdown levels.
Five years ago today, Abellio – the company owned by the Dutch government – took over running Scotland’s Railway. After years of poor service, on 18 December 2019, the Scottish Minister for Transport Michael Matheson MSP, finally announced that he would break Abellio’s contract three years’ early (on 31 March 2022).
On 1 April 2020, we re-launched the Make ScotRail Public campaign in collaboration with our friends at Get Glasgow Moving, TSSA and We Own It, to demand that a public sector operator is ready to take over running ScotRail services by 2022.
23rd March 2020 | News
Today, as a result of the Coronavirus Outbreak, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps utilised Section 118 of the Railways Act 1993 to suspend all current franchise agreements with private Train Operating Companies and replace them with temporary Emergency Measures Agreements.
This led The Guardian newspaper to report that ‘Britain’s trains have effectively been nationalised‘, despite this actually looking more like a massive bailout for failing private companies whose share prices then surged as a result.
These Emergency Measures Agreements also only apply to franchises currently let by the Department for Transport and, of course, exclude LNER and Northern, which are already in public ownership – a fact we were celebrating at the start of the month:
So, the new Emergency Measures Agreements do not apply to:
• the ScotRail or the Caledonian Sleeper franchises let by the Scottish Government which has its own Emergency Measures Agreements in place,
• the Transport for Wales Rail franchise let by the Welsh Government,
• the TfL Rail or London Overground contracts let by Transport for London, or
• the Merseyrail contract let by Merseytravel
Please explore the ‘Franchises‘ pages of our website (first launched in 2015 and now updated regularly) to find out who runs the railways in your area, and how you can help campaign for public ownership:
This March, after years of failure under the control of private companies, Northern rail will be officially re-nationalised!
To mark this momentous moment, we’re working with our friends at RMT, We Own It, the Association of British Commuters and Northern Resist, to organise a Day of Action across the North of England demanding that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps keeps Northern in public ownership from now on.
Please join us at one of the stations listed below.
Monday 2 March 2020:
06:30-08:45 Carlisle Station
07:00-09:00 Manchester Victoria Station
07:00-09:00 Wigan Station
07:00-09:00 York Station
07:00-10:00 Leeds Station
07:30-09:00 Newcastle Central Station (Main Entrances on Neville Street)
07:30-09:00 Wakefield Westgate Station
16:00-18:00 Sheffield Station
On Thursday 2 January 2020, rail fares go up again by another 2.8%.
The rail franchising system is broken and it’s passengers that are paying the price.
We’re joining forces with our friends at the Association of British Commuters and other passenger groups across the country to organise a National Day of Passenger Action demanding an end to the farce of franchising and fair fares now!
They’ll be a central demonstration at London King’s Cross Station at 8am. Details of other actions will be listed on the Facebook event page and below.
Thursday 2 January 2020:
07:00-09:00 King’s Lynn Station
08:00-09:30 London King’s Cross Station
09:30-10:30 Chelmsford Station
10:00-12:00 Norwich Station (organised by NOR4NOR)
11:30-12:30 London Liverpool Street Station
16:00-17:30 Burton-on-Trent Station
16:30-19:30 Bolton Station (organised by Northern Resist)
Please get in touch if you’d like to organise an action at your local station and we can help promote it: firstname.lastname@example.org
Media Coverage from 2 January 2020
• Transport Secretary Grant Shapps vows to strip Northern Rail of its franchise as furious commuters say they are ‘being priced off the railway’ after fares rise 2.7 per cent across UK, Daily Mail
• Train fare increase 2020: protesters gather at London’s Kings Cross warning of ‘decade of misery’ for rail commuters, I News
• Rail fares rise by 2.7%, hitting millions of commuters, BBC News
• Commuters in mass protests as 2.7% rail fare hike hits, Inside Croydon
• Railway stations to be hit by more strikes against fee hikes, Morning Star
• Northern to be stripped of rail franchise – Shapps, Wimbledon Times
• Commuters gather at Bolton station in protest over increased rail fares, The Guardian
• ‘Enough is enough!’ Furious commuter rages at railway ‘carnage’ amid fresh fare hikes, Daily Express