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East Coast Nationalised - Now Boot Stagecoach and Virgin from the Rail Industry and the Public Sector

16 May 2018

Commenting on East Coast Mainline's return to public ownership as London and North Eastern Railways just three years after George Osborne signed it over to Virgin and Stagecoach, TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes says both disgraced companies should be now be barred from holding a public contract In the UK again

 Said Cortes:

"East Coast passengers and rail staff in Scotland and the rest of the UK will be heaving a sigh of relief at this long overdue news that finally common sense has prevailed in Tory high command and this crazed Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling has finally been stopped from pouring good public money after bad when propping up Virgin East Coast. He can call it what he wants to save his blushes, but his “operator of last resort”, is in fact public ownership. This must be a complete humiliation for a dyed-in-the-wool market fundamentalist likehim. He would have rather walked on broken glass than bring this rail line back into public ownership. It looks like May has painfully twisted his arm. 

"Our union warned again and again that privatising East Coast would only serve as a licence to transfer still more public money into the private bank accounts of multi billionaire rail-robber barons. We were right, Stagecoach's Brian Souter and Virgin's Richard Branson's have shared in the booty they've been licensed by the Tories to loot from Treasury coffers.

"Together they've let a state-owned profit-making asset in 2015 bloat their own bank balances whilst turning it into a complete state liability. Ronnie Biggs would take his hat off to them! Between London, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness, poor passengers have put up with rising ticket prices in exchange for rapidly deteriorating services, enduring increasingly delayed train times, dreadful overcrowding and all too often, no seat at all. Our members have been driven to distraction with the ever-growing daily number of poor, frustrated passengers who need more support.

"Putting East Coast out to private pasture was always a national scandal. The robber barons have fleeced passengers and taxpayers but even today the Tories are letting their billionaire friends off the hook once again. Stagecoach and Virgin must be hounded out of our railways. Grayling's head should roll for his very public love-in with the rail barons that has brought East Coast to its knees.

“The East Coast Mainline is a vital piece of economic infrastructure for the Scottish economy. It links many towns and cities in Scotland with each other as well as towns south of the border. It provides the only direct link between the Highlands and London. Now that the publicly owned London and North Eastern Railway has come into being, we demand that the Scottish Government is able to appoint at least one Director onto his board.

“That the Conservative government has brought the East Coast line back into public ownership demonstrates that membership of the EU does not, as has Grayling claims, prevent public ownership of the railways. It didn’t prevent Andrew Adonis in the past and it hasn’t prevented Grayling himself today! Grayling has shown Humza Yousaf how it's done. Let's now see the Scottish Government nationalise ScotRail!

"If justice is to be truly served on these Tory-licensed robbers, both Stagecoach and Virgins should be booted out of the entire public sector. Their assets must be seized to pay off the billions they promised would be returned to the public purse by 2020. Grayling should not be bailing them out. He should take a leaf out of the last Labour government who banned National Express from the rail industry in Britain after they ran East Coast into the ground. At the very least, neither Virgin nor Stagecoach should ever again be awarded a public contract in the Britain"



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