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Are DfT burying bad news about Southern?

20 October 2016

TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes says the the DfT are suppressing their own report into a second London rail line through Sussex to relieve strain on the London-Brighton mainline.

Brighton MPs, Peter Kyle and Caroline Lucas have been pressing for publication by Christmas of the WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff study into the viability of a new Mainline 2 and other long term options to support the growing demand for rail services in the South East.

The consultants report was commissioned by George Osborne in April 2015 at a cost of £100,000 but the DfT are refusing to answer the MPs questions on a publication date.

"Why do the Department of Transport think they are above accountability? DfT mandarins are public employees and must be held publicly accountable. And let's face it, there is much accounting to be done for the chaos they are inflicting on Southern's passengers where the line from London to Brighton is operating upto 279pc over capacity.

"The continued suppression by the DfT of this this important study - which we the taxpayers have paid for - is another piece of evidence that they are failing to act in either the pubic interest or the interests of Southern's passengers.

"It's a no-brainer that the whole of our UK rail network needs expanding to meet future needs and environmental obligations. So there can be no prizes for guessing that any report into the busiest rail commuter route in the country will recommend a second line. Frankly there is no alternative.

"But expansion will require the scale of investment that can only come from the public purse and I am sure that there must be a public ownership element involved in this report. Just the thing that the ideological free-marketeers in their DfT ivory tower are opposed to.

"But all transport economists accept that rail is a public good and needs to be publicly funded. They are afraid of publishing because they will be damned. So they are censoring instead. This is obviously not acceptable and the TSSA will lend the Brighton MPs our full support to get the rail-truth out." 

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