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Timetable Grayling's Departure

6 June 2018

Welcoming the unprecedented calls yesterday from all Northern newspapers on Theresa May to host a Downing Street Summit to address the current rail disaster, Manuel Cortes says the first step in any fix must be the sacking of Transport Minister Chris Grayling.


Cortes adds, “Any Downing Street Summit must factor in Scotland’s voice. Tory rail failures south of the border impact badly on services in Scotland. It’s only a few weeks since Grayling had to admit that the Tory franchise experiment on the East Coast line had failed yet again.

“Our rail services have been starved of proper direction since privatisation. There is the odd shiny new shopping mall which gets paraded as a station but long needed upgrades to tracks and carriages to keep our trains running and expand capacity have largely been ignored as this government clings to a failed privatisation model.

“Last summer Grayling cancelled scheduled electrification projects across trans-Pennine, East Midland and South Wales routes to the consternation of regional authorities and business alike. This summer he presided over the total collapse of the timetabling service across huge swathes of the country.

In May alone, a staggering 4000 Northern Rail train services were cancelled. That’s more than 100 each day. In war time Britain we did better!

“There is no end in sight to commuter and rail passenger misery. Chris Grayling lets Network Rail boss Peter Hendy go in front of the cameras and take the blame. Peter and I don’t always see eye to eye, but I’ll say this for him, it’s not his fault that our rail system is in meltdown and he shouldn’t be made to take the bullet.

“The fault is entirely Grayling’s. Our members in Network Rail have long warned it was a matter of time until we hit this systemic collapse. But their pleas have fallen on Grayling’s ignorant ears. He has forced them to keep moving deckchairs round the Titanic but even he is now having to face the fact that the privatisation model is a titanic failure.

“Thing is Grayling is a man more interested in power than honour. He is no honourable Titanic captain like Edward John Smith prepared to go down with his ship. He’s the sort of man that would chuck a child out of a lifeboat to save his own skin.

“We saw him do it last night when he started to promote penny compensation solutions to passengers. Grayling is desperately bailing ship. He makes me sick. But more than that, he’s making passengers sick by endangering their livelihoods.

“No wonder all our Northern newspapers want something done. Mrs May can no longer bottle sacking Grayling. It’s time to timetable his departure. He is the single most toxic political problem in the way of finding the rail solution we need: reintegrating our track and trains, the wheels with the steel as we say in the rail industry, under public ownership and letting our passengers get to work on time.”

“Humza Yousaf should be demanding May boot Grayling out of the rail business and leading the charge for public ownership of rail not helping them get away with the great rail robbery of our age.”

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