[2018] ** Motion 12 Transport: Britain’s railways

Composited motion

Received from:

Congress recognises that Britain’s railways are in trouble after continued bungling and buck-passing by the government’s transport secretary.

The introduction of new passenger timetables in May 2018 saw hundreds of train services cancelled or delayed on Northern and Thameslink, disrupting the daily lives of thousands of passengers. The minister blamed the publicly owned Network Rail when one of the main causes for the problem was the Department for Transport’s refusal to allow a pause on introducing the new timetables.

This way of running Britain’s railways characterises the government’s ineptitude whereby:

i. Conservative dogma re-privatised the highly successful East Coast franchise in 2015, only for it to fail for a third time and be returned to public ownership in June 2018.
ii. Electrification projects have been scaled back, especially in the north of England, perpetuating the antiquated rail network there, and incurring additional expense for diesel engines in less environmentally friendly bi-mode trains.
iii. There has been a failure to attract private sector investment, resulting in taxpayer-funded subsidies of £34.7bn between 2019 and 2024.

Despite this, Network Rail is apparently being prepared to be fragmented and privatised, which could see industry standards relaxed to attract private investors, raising the spectre of the safety failings of Railtrack.

Congress calls on the General Council to:
a. continue to oppose rail privatisation and support public ownership of our railways
b. campaign to keep Network Rail as one entity in the public sector
c. establish a cross-union working group to progress transition plans for transport and other sectors.

Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association