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Talented TSSA gets creative

4 March 2013

As part of the Better Rail campaign, the ‘Year of Horror 2013’ got off to a strong start, with TSSA members and allies taking action against fare increases and threats to services.

 In 2010 TSSA helped bring together the #farefail coalition, whose actions since then have highlighted the inflation busting fares imposed by the government each year. Right from the start of the year, TSSA members have been joining with community activists and allies in carrying out leafleting sessions at stations across the UK.


January actions
Action at London St Pancras on January 2 marked the day fare increases were introduced. The action gained widespread coverage across TV and the press, with general secretary Manuel Cortes giving interviews underlining both fare increases and threats to staff.

The events marking the 150th anniversary of the London Underground saw a picket in defence of the funding of London Transport Museum, facing a 25 per cent budget cut. Watch the video, including clueless Mayor Boris Johnson declaring the Museum to be in ‘fine fettle’ whilst he oversees cuts that threaten many of its activities: TransportMuseum.


Fares leafleting continued at stations throughout the UK, with the ‘Ghost Train’ visiting York. TSSA’s Film Group took the campaign into the community, with Reps interviewing passengers about what they thought of the fare increases.

February actions
Valentines Day saw ‘Love trains, hate high fares!’ actions at over 40 stations, including below 'The Meeting Place' lovers’ statue at St Pancras and hand-painted placards at Oxford. ‘Farefail Fridays’ also began – weekly Friday actions with the Ghost Train in places where passengers have been hit by the ‘top 10’ fare increases.



March action – save the date!
27 March is the 50th anniversary of the Beeching Report. Check our website for soon to be confirmed details of the action day jointly called by TSSA and
other rail unions.

Film Group

Our TSSA Film Group took the Ghost Train up to York to highlight horror fares and see how passengers in Yorkshire are feeling the pinch. You can see some interviews at

Pete Worral, a TSSA rep at Network Rail, asked Katie for her opinion. She said, ‘I think it’s disgusting, because it’s starting to get to the point where people can’t afford to get to work and back, they’re just far too high!’

Another passenger told Manjit Gill ‘I don’t really see how they can justify putting train fares up when the service I receive isn’t better than it was when the trains were a lot cheaper. Actually, it would be a lot cheaper for me to drive, which is the thing I don’t really want to do, because I am green and I do try to do the best for my environment, but now I feel I’m kind of being bullied into the prospect of having to buy a car, because it would be so much cheaper for me.’


During 2012 our Film Group volunteers have put together a series of videos to highlight the negative impact of the government’s programme of change in the railways. These include a short film, interviews with passengers on fare increases and cuts to station staff and asking TSSA members and the public what they think will make a better railway. In 2013 they will be interviewing more TSSA members about their role on the railway, the skills they have and what they are doing to fight for a better railway.
You can see the Film Group’s work at

Street theatre

This summer we plan on bringing our ‘horror’ theme to life by introducing an element of street theatre as part of our actions, using the horror characters we introduced in the November Journal.
There is a long history of using street theatre – performed in any busy place, often with just a few props – to make a political point. Brief sketches can get people thinking and debating in a way that addressing them with a megaphone never would.

Are you interested in taking part in street theatre workshops? No previous experience is required. Sign up for street theatre workshops on
We will have costumes for some of our Year of Horror characters, but we need your help to develop their ‘story’ and discover ways to communicate this to the public. That’s why we will hold workshops run by actors who will help you discover your hidden talents and have some fun!

Crazed Ticket Vending Machine
Our CTVM will visit stations and amuse passengers with its crazy tickets and comic breakdowns! Passengers tell us consistently they want more staff, not more machines. Help our CTVM show its true colours this summer!

Freddie Cuts
We first met Freddie Cuts at the 20 October demonstration. Now we need to make sure our politicians got the message that the proposed cuts to ticket offices and station staff are horrific! Help us tell Freddie Cuts’ story and why we need to fight the horror cuts!

Toxic Waste Monster
Over £1 billion could be saved each year if the railways were returned to public ownership. How can we impress upon people they need to fight the toxic waste that’s being defended by the Tory-led government? Help us find a way to banish the Toxic Waste monster into the wastelands of privatisation! Sound interesting? Sign up for Street Theatre Workshops today!


Get active in the fight for a better railway

Over the next few months we will have a programme of actions on fares, Ghost Train visits to stations and visits to local MPs. We need you to sign-up to help us be heard by decision makers. Now is the time to get involved and make a difference.

What you can do right now:

  • Pledge to help get our postcards on fares out to passengers:
  • Come along with other TSSA members and Reps to visit your local MP, or sign up for our Political Lobbying course
  • Sign up for workshops on Street Theatre
  • Tell us what you think will make a better railway on

For more information contact Nadine Rae on


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