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Cortes - Real Change on Timetable Fiasco Requires Public Railways

4 December 2018

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has backed calls for 'real change' on the railways from the Commons Transport Select Committee (TSC) as a result of a chaotic timetabling rollout in May.

TSC MPs have just released a damning report - Rail timetable changes: May 2018 - on the fallout from the chaos. The Committee has said swift reform is needed to restore passengers’ trust and pins the blame on the ‘astonishing complexity’ of a fragmented railway

Commenting, Manuel Cortes said “the timetable disaster was the biggest disruption to our railways in peacetime history. The TSC report shows the game is well and truly up for the rail privateers. They long ago lost the trust of millions of passengers and it’s good to see the Transport Committee ramming that point down Transport Secretary, Failing Chris Grayling’s throat.

“The Committee is clear ‘nobody’ took charge during the timetabling fiasco, and Grayling like some latter day Pontus Pilate has simply tried to wash his hands of his responsibility for the debacle, so it’s good to see him singled out for disgrace.

“It’s good too to see the TSC recommend 2018 season ticket holders most affected by the timetabling crisis receive a discount on their season tickets for next year.

“However the only ‘real change’ which will provide a genuine fix is one that ends rail fragmentation, a polite way of saying the system is broken up. The truth is our railways have been broken up too much under privatisation.

“They need to be reintegrated and that will mean putting the railways back in public hands. Privatisation has failed on its own terms. It has not brought better services, increased competition and lower prices which were promised; quite the opposite.

“A system which sees private train companies operating on publicly-owned infrastructure is not only incompatible, it’s tarnished and broken beyond repair. The public good now requires a public railway and everyone in the industry know this.

“The Tory Pontius Pilate Transport Secretary, who I wouldn’t trust to run a bath let alone our rail system, should fall on his sword after this report. “  

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