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TSSA Dismisses Williams Rail Review Comments As 'Pure Fiction'

16 July 2019

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has dismissed as "pure fiction" a suggestion that a new largely independent body should be created to oversee the entire rail network.

The idea is being proposed by Keith Williams, who’s carrying out a railways review for the Government.

Mr Williams told the BBC a new figure or body should oversee the railways to, in his view, provide greater accountability.

The idea has echoes of the failed Strategic Rail Authority (SRA), a body which, from 2001 to 2006 was tasked with providing strategic direction for the industry.

Williams also indicated that a franchise should last longer than the current average of seven to eight years.

Responding, TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, said: “Keith Williams is taking us into the realms of pure fiction. It’s plain daft to suggest going back to the future by echoing the failed and discredited SRA which proved costly and unworkable.

“Mr Williams has already said that the current rail franchising model is finished – but what he is offering today is a little more than a sleight of hand. Creating a new body is wildly out of step with public demands for a public railway and won’t cure the many ills of privatisation.

“Williams seems happy to overlook the fact that more than 99p in every pound invested in our railways comes from the public purse. It’s not so much Back To The Future but Alice in Wonderland if he thinks privateers are going to invest more if franchises are elongated.

“They won’t - their only concern is extracting profits from long-suffering passengers.”

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