Bring Back British Rail’s Ellie Harrison discusses all the problems with our privatised rail network with Julia Hartley-Brewer, who pledges her support for the campaign!
On Tuesday 16th August, we’re teaming up with our friends at We Own It and Action For Rail to organise protests at stations all over the UK – from Brighton to Glasgow – to End the #RailRipOff. See the Facebook event for full details of times / locations and read on for some of the special events.
On Tuesday 16th August, we continue the #SouthernFail campaign, demanding that the failing franchise be returned to public ownership. Join the protest at London Bridge station from 7:30-9am, in the forecourt of the main entrance (Exit 1).
Support the campaign against Abellio Greater Anglia
Through our Franchises initiative, we’re supporting the Norfolk 4 Nationalisation of Rail campaign. On Tuesday 16th August they are holding rallies at Norwich and London Liverpool Street stations from 11am-1pm. Go along to hear guest speakers from 12noon.
Stop the Privatisation of Network Rail!
For over a year, we’ve been campaigning to stop Network Rail – the only bit of our railway still in public ownership – from being broken-up and privatised. On Tuesday 16th August our friends at We Own It will be descending on Network Rail offices at 9:30am to hand in our petitions. Please make sure you sign and share them before:
Bamboozled by the complexities of the privatised rail system? Take a moment to listen to this BCfm Radio interview with Bring Back British Rail’s Ellie Harrison, and join our campaign for the re-unification of rail.
Bring Back British Rail’s Ellie Harrison was invited on BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme to make the case for the public ownership of the railways against Chris Snowden from Institute of Economic Affairs.
3rd August 2016 | News
2nd August 2016 | News
Below is our submission to the Department for Transport’s “Future of InterCity West Coast rail franchise” public consultation, which closes today.
Dear sir / madam,
Launched in 2009, our volunteer-run campaign has now grown to represent the concerns of well over 150,000 passengers and train employees via our online communities and petitions (Facebook: 102192, Twitter: 4276, Riseup email list: 42482, website petition: 39150, Care2 petition: 69144 people as of 2 August 2016).
Together we are calling for a re-unified national rail network, run in the interests of passengers and train employees rather than the shareholders of the private train operating companies, many of whom are based overseas (Abellio is Dutch, Arriva is German, Keolis is French, MTR Corporation is in Hong Kong).
In terms of the InterCity West Coast (ICWC) rail franchise, we want to see this vital north-south route returned to a publicly-owned operator from 2018. The success of the East Coast main line, run by publicly-owned Directly Operated Railways (DOR) from 2009-2015, clearly demonstrates that public ownership is the most popular, efficient and affordable way to enable economic growth and deliver all the objectives of the new ICWC rail franchise:
Drive growth in passengers
Growth in passenger numbers in the era of rail privatisation (often sited one of the policy’s few “successes”), simply mirrors economic growth in Britain over this period and cannot be attributed to privatisation at all. In fact, people on low-incomes are now increasingly being priced-off the railways as fares have risen so sharply under privatisation to the extent that we now have the most expensive trains in Europe. The only fair way to increase passenger numbers and create a railway that everyone can afford to use, is to cut fares. Re-unifying all our railways under one public-owned company would save more than £1billion every year, enough to cut fares by 20%.
Work in partnership
There is little incentive for competing private train operating companies (TOCs) to work in partnership. Indeed, the cost of legal “interfacing” between TOCs has risen by 83% over the last twelve years and requires 300+ staff at Network Rail to broker all the arguments between them over delays and compensation. The only way to ensure true co-operation and collaboration on our railways, is to align the interests of all parties under public ownership. A publicly-run ICWC rail franchise would work most effectively with publicly-owned Network Rail and HS2 Ltd.
Deliver a new benchmark in customer satisfaction
The East Coast main line, which was publicly-run by DOR from 2009-2015, delivered record passenger satisfaction and punctuality, as well as returning nearly £1billion profit to the Treasury over this period. The latest Passenger Satisfaction survey for the East Coast (which has been privately-run by Virgin Trains & Stagecoach since 1 April 2015), shows a sharp fall in passenger satisfaction. The only way to return to the high benchmark which has been set by DOR and to fulfil the wishes of 66% of the population, is to return the ICWC rail franchise to public ownership after 2018.
Build on investments
The inefficiencies caused by privatisation, meant that the total cost of the electrification of the West Coast main line – initially managed by the failed privately-owned Railtrack (which had to be re-nationalised in 2002) – soared from an estimated £1.5billion in 1996 to £9billion in 2008 when it was finally complete. Much of this money was wasted on outsourced consultancy fees, more legal “interfacing” between parties and shareholder profits, rather than being directly invested in upgrading our country’s infrastructure. The only way to ensure that all taxpayer investment actually goes directly into the improvement of our railways is under public ownership.
Achieve whole-industry benefits
A publicly-run ICWC rail franchise, would pave the way for more of our rail franchises to return to public ownership as current TOC contracts expire. Bringing all the rail franchises due to expire before the end of this parliament in 2020, under the control of one public-owned company, would save more than £600million. The only effective way to benefit the whole industry and ensure co-operation is by bringing all the franchises which ICWC connects with including: West Midlands, Wales & Borders, Cross Country and others, under the control of the same publicly-owned operator.
The cost of running one rail franchising “competition” alone is £45 million. Add this to £55 million wasted by the West Coast main line franchising fiasco of 2012 – when Virgin Trains were handed an extension on their contract because of errors in First Group’s bid – and it becomes evident that the rail franchising process itself is sapping investment from our railways. The only way to ensure that taxpayers’ money is actually invested in the communities that rely on the ICWC route, is to learn from the example set by Directly Operated Railways and make the choice to run the rail franchise solely in our interests from the outset.
We have learnt valuable lessons from the failures of privatisation since the 1990s. The successful five-and-a-half years of Directly Operated Railways has provided all the evidence we need that public ownership is the best way to deliver passenger satisfaction and create an efficient and affordable railway, which we can all start to take pride in once again.
We look forward to hearing the outcomes of the public consultation and to seeing the ICWC rail franchise publicly-owned and run in our interests from 2018.
12th July 2016 | News
The Department for Transport have launched a Public Consultation on the “Future of InterCity West Coast rail franchise“, which has been run by profiteering Virgin Trains since 1997. Now’s the time to demand we stop letting Virgin siphon public money out of the public transport system and take the line back into public ownership instead. Have your say before 2 August 2016!
London Victoria Station
Monday 11 July, 17:30