LNER must take over Grand Central rail

Two LNER trains at platforms in Kings Cross station

TSSA is calling for publicly owned rail company LNER to take over Grand Central trains, which will temporarily cease operations on Friday due to the coronavirus crisis.

The union is also calling for LNER to absorb Hull Trains, which stopped running trains earlier this week.

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: 

"Grand Central provides services from the North East and West Yorkshire that many passengers rely on. It needs to keep running so key workers such as those in the NHS, police, and food shops can make it to work.

"When Hull Trains stopped running, LNER put on a replacement direct train service from Hull to London. LNER is also planning to start running trains to replace some Grand Central services. If they’re going to do that, why not just take on the whole shebang?

"Across Britain’s rail network there’s been a 95% drop in passenger numbers because of coronavirus which companies like LNER can cope with because they’re in government hands. But companies like Grand Central and Hull Trains are 'open access' operators that don't have any government support so this drop in passenger numbers has hit them hard. Grand Central and Hull Trains are furloughing their staff because otherwise they’d go bust during the pandemic. 

"LNER taking over the companies would give staff vital security in terms of jobs and incomes, and would reassure passengers that the train services will be running reliably again at the end of the crisis. It would also reassure NHS and other key workers travelling for their jobs that they will continue to be able to do so.

"The best solution for any railway line is to be run for the public good, in the public sector, which LNER is doing now. If Covid-19 has shown us anything, it’s that our railways are a vital public service, which need to keep running regardless of profits. That’s why our union has always called for our railways to be publicly owned. Now that the government has nationalised the railways in all but name, they should have the courage to finish the job we’ve beaten this pandemic."