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East Coast Mainline Reforms Would Prompt National Rail Strike

28 November 2018

TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes has warned the Government that plans for a new operator on the East Coast Mainline which breaks-up Network Rail would spark a "national rail strike."

Earlier this year Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, replaced the failing Virgin East Coast with a publicly-owned business called London North Eastern Railway (LNER).

The Department for Transport (DfT) has now sought to defend proposals for a permanent new operator called the ‘East Coast Partnership’ in 2020, with the aim of managing both trains and track.

MPs on the Commons Transport Committee had been critical of this radical break from the current system in which regional franchises run the trains while Network Rail - a national public body - maintains the track.

Commenting, Cortes said: “Any plan to break-up Network Rail and hand its assets over to privateers is likely to lead to a national rail strike. Chris ‘Failing’ Grayling should be clear about that.

“Those who don’t learn from history are condemned by it. The last time the profit motive let rip on our tracks we had fatalities and serious injuries at Hatfield and Potters Bar. Never again!

“MPs on the Transport Committee are right - Grayling is conducting an outrageous experiment without proper consultation and certainly not with the aim of improving services for passengers.

“He should junk these crazy proposals without delay and instead draw up plans for a public rail system which really offers safety and value for money, before Tory zeal for the profit motive threatens lives on the railways.”

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