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: email@example.com
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.
Sick of rising rail fares and chaotic commuting?
Tired of the endless tinkering with our broken privatised railway system?
It’s time for a #RailRevolution.
On Wednesday 2 January 2019, as our rail fares rise again by 3.1%, we’re joining forces with our friends at We Own It, the Association of British Commuters and NOR4NOR to organise a national day of action calling for radical reform.
Coinciding with the public consultation for the government’s new ‘root and branch’ review of rail: the Williams Rail Review, we’re calling on passengers all over the country to respond in favour of a re-unified national rail network run for people not profit.
On Wednesday 2 January 2019, protests will take place at stations across the country (see full list here), with a central one at London King’s Cross from 7:30-9:00am (photo call at 8:00am). See the Facebook event page for details, print a Bring Back British Rail placard and come join us!
Sign the Petition
Then on Friday 18 January 2019, to mark the deadline of the Williams Rail Review public consultation, we’ll be delivering our Care2 Petition to Re-nationalise our Railways signed by 118,039 people to the Department for Transport to demonstrate the sheer weight of public support for public ownership.
Make sure you add your name before then: bringbackbritishrail.org/care2
Media Coverage from 2 January 2019
• Furious passengers protest price hikes, Daily Mail
• Anger at ‘disgraceful’ rail fare rises as stations hit by protests, Sky News
• Chris Grayling blames unions for rail fare hike, BBC News
• Rail passengers stage ‘national day of action’ in protest at fare increases, Evening Standard
• Rail users to mount ‘national day of action’ over 3.1% fare rise, The Guardian
• Rail season tickets to jump by £100 for many commuters, Metro
• Train price hike: Jeremy Corbyn calls for public ownership of railways, Independent
• Rail fares rise 3.2% TODAY despite trains chaos, Mirror
• Protest in Birmingham over rising rail fares, Birmingham Live
• Protests at Sheffield railway station as rail fares rise by an average of 3.1 per cent, The Star
• York protest over national rail fare hike, The Press
Following the Office of Rail and Road finding that ‘systemic failings’ have been the cause of the huge problems with new timetables on the Northern and Govia Thameslink Railway franchises, Ellie Harrison was invited to address the question ‘should we bring back British Rail?’ on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show.