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 C2C Debts Show Franchising Is Dying - Cortes 

11 February 2020

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has described reports that the C2C rail franchise is deeply in debt as "a sure sign franchising is dying" in the UK. 

C2C runs services between London and Essex and is owned by Trenitalia – one of Europe’s biggest train operators - which is said to have debts relating to C2C in the region of £20 million. 

The Italian operator is reported to be in talks with the Department for Transport (DfT) with the Department’s ‘Operator of Last Resort’ on the alert. It’s been reported that C2C is considering pulling out of Britain as a result of the financial difficulties. 

Commenting, Cortes said: “This really is beyond a joke from C2C – and is a sure sign that franchising is dying after Northern was taken into public hands this year, LNER in 2018, and SWR also on the verge of failure. 

“Yet again we see the grand folly of rail franchising which relies on the British taxpayer to bail them out as the so called ‘Operator of Last Resort’. There’s no escaping the fact that for passengers, public ownership is actually the Operator of First Choice. 

“This Tory government must wake up to reality. It's simply not good enough to have private companies falling into debt only for British taxpayers to pick up the tab. If Trenitalia walks away from this they should not be allowed to run services on the West Coast Main Line. 

“The only way out of this sorry mess is to bring our railways back into public hands. I’m happy to sit down with Ministers to discuss exactly how we do that. The ball is in their court.” 

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