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Network Rail changes ignore 'White Elephant' of Private Train Companies - Cortes

12 February 2019

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes has described operational changes announced by Network Rail as a "white elephant" catering to "vested interests."

Network Rail plans to devolve its operations with a new model formed of 13 routes, increased from the current eight and supported by five Network Rail regions, two service directorates and smaller teams at the centre. Each region will be led by a managing director.

Cortes said: "Network Rail's announcement of greater devolution may be aimed at improving performance and reliability, but the white elephant in the room is the continuation of the privately-owned Train Operating Companies (TOCs).

“When you read the small print, it’s clear jobs are at risk as a result of this reorganisation. We don’t yet know how many jobs, but we will fight job losses needless to say.

“Network Rail pays huge levels of compensation to the TOCs for delays caused by infrastructure failures and engineering over-runs, much of which is not passed onto the passengers in delay repay, but simply lines shareholder pockets.

“The TOCs have a vested interest in reducing engineering access as, if it goes wrong, they get paid. This amounts to the companies pocketing pay for delays rather than paying it out to passengers.

“Public ownership of the railways would remove this contradiction in the system and provide an opportunity to get the railways running better, in a safe and reliable way and totally focussed on the interests of passengers and taxpayers.

“Continued privatisation of the railway is nothing more than the continued dominant Conservative model. I’m also concerned that devolution is nothing more than double speak for further fragmentation and running down of our railways.”

 

 

 

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