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
Following Scottish Transport Secretary Michael Matheson’s announcement that he would be ending Abellio’s contract to run the ScotRail franchise three years’ early (on 31 March 2022), Bring Back British Rail’s Ellie Harrison was invited onto BBC Radio Scotland’s Jackie Brambles show to discuss ScotRail’s future with rail journalist Philip Haigh and Rachel Jackson, actress and comedian.
The Labour Party’s manifesto for the UK General Election on 12 December 2019 promises to deliver publicly-owned railways, mail, water and energy. Could this finally be our chance to Bring Back British Rail?
Make sure you register to vote before the deadline on Tuesday 26 November 2019, 11.59pm so that you can have your say!
And order your Bring Back British Rail merchandise in time for the election! Our #GE2019 Special Offer gets you a Rail Card Wallet, Enamel Badge and Embroidered Patch for just £10 including delivery in the UK.
18th March 2019 | News
We agreed with Keith, rail franchising is broken and told him public ownership is the answer!
Please take time to #TellKeith your views before the deadline on 31 May 2019
Coverage in the Daily Mirror of our Care2 petition hand-in with more than 120,000 signatures, at the Department for Transport on 18 January 2019. We’re demanding that the public ownership of our railways is properly considered in the Williams Rail Review.