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Arches sell-off a rail disaster in the making

11 September 2018

Responding angrily from the TUC Congress in Manchester to the news that Network rail has sold off the country's railway arches to a private consortium of Telereal Trillium and Blackstone Property, TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes said.

"Mark my words this is another example of the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling's lack of understanding when it comes to running our railways. He thinks he gets the price of everything but again he is showing he understands the value of nothing and railway safety has more in peril today than it was yesterday. It's another Grayling disaster in the making.

"We will come to regret and very soon the sale of yet another national infrastructural asset which really make no business sense for the public purse. The renting out of arches space to small businesses has been generating around £150m per year. So over the next ten years, even with static rents, that's £1.5 billion which would have been a strong source of cashflow for Network Rail. It's also £400,000 more than the £1.46bn sell-off price. So we the public, as tax payers are being double-short changed.

"But more than that, arches are vital structures underpinning our entire rail network and they require good maintenance to ensure they stay safe. Our engineering members warn us they are not yet satisfied that Network Rail have ensured adequate inspection access to those arches now they have been sold off.

"They are also concerned that without the cashflow generated by the profitable arches - precisely the ones that have been sold-off - there will be less regular funds to properly maintain our railways so more delays to rail journeys are sadly on the way. It really should not be allowed to go ahead."

"Our union is also concerned about the transfer and protection of our members rights. The new owners have not yet responded to our requests for talks. And we will not be letting our members transfer from Network Rail before ensuring that their new bosses maintain our members jobs and also guarantee their pension rights"

TSSA will be raising our opposition to this sale this afternoon during the transport debate at TUC Congress.

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