Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Stop the break-up and privatisation of Network Rail

Conservative Transport Minister Chris Grayling  has unveiled plans for a fully privatised railway line, with track and trains operated by the same company. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/dec/06/new-fully-privatised-rail-line-chris-grayling-plans-oxford-cambridge
Network Rail is a government owned company responsible for maintaining and repairing our rail lines, it was set up after private company Railtrack ballsed it up when they had the contract to do it. Now the UK government is going to privatise it again. The Government hopes this shift of control will incentivise train companies to carry out repairs more quickly and possibly bring in cheaper fares.
The reason for setting up Network rail in the first place was  private companies failed to look after tracks, and were more interested in boosting their  profit than training or safety. This led to  fatal crashes :- Southall (1997) 7 people dead, Ladbroke Grove (1999) 31 people dead, Hatfield (2000) 4 people dead, Potters Bar (2002) 7 people dead. Chris Grayling has obviously forgotten all the lives lost when our railway maintenance was last left to a profit-making company. When will they ever learn!! Grayling  absolutely does not give a fraction of a shit. He's left the prison service in utter chaos with vast private unbreakable contracts everywhere,and he'll do it here too.
 The private companies running the trains are behind on the maintenance of the trains and carriages (who remembers all that footage of how crowded the carriages are these days from earlier this year?), so they will neglect the tracks too! So long as they seek a profit there will be less incentive to repair (not more) and nothing will be done until they are at breaking point. The idea it will reduce ticket prices is insane; ticket prices have risen at a much steeper rate under privatisation and have actually very recently had yet another rise (with no improvement in service.)
We should not forget though that it is the Tory mindset to sell off the family silver to the highest bidder , the rail , Royal Mail , British aerospace , cable n wireless , Britoil , British gas , British steel , British airways , Rolls Royce , water and electricity went the same way . Thatcher sold off council housing stock under the right to buy , most are now owned by private landlords who charge 3-4 times the rent of council rents . Profits were supposed to be ploughed back into building social housing but this never happened and guess what , we have a massive housing shortage, asset stripping of the NHS the list is endless. Some of the train operating companies are now foreign owned , profits help subsidise their own countries rail fares whilst Joe Public  pays the most expensive train fares (by a long way) in Europe .
I for one am not convinced by privatisation of assets.No public service, and railways are a very important public service should ever be in private hands. Decades of evidence show that applying business principles to public services simply doesn't work. It increases prices, decreases choice and drastically lowers quality of service. All the railways need to be nationalised, it should be kept in the hands of the people.For safety's sake, Stop the break-up and privatisation of Network Rail! Please sign the following petition :-


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