RAIL union RMT has exposed a shameless bid by train privateers to hoodwink the public with “phoney investment.”
Bosses’ club the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), representing train companies and Network Rail, says it has launched a “£50 billion rail plan” for Britain – reported in yesterday’s Morning Star. Supposedly this will transform services over the next 18 months.
Under the scheme, 5,700 new train carriages will be in use by 2021 and the £50bn invested now will deliver £82-83bn in economic benefits in the long-term, the RDG claims.
But RMT leader Mick Cash says there is “not a penny piece” of new money in the scheme, with RDG chief executive Paul Plummer having outlined the same plan more than a year ago.
The union denounced the announcement as “the same old stream of bogus propaganda” aimed at hoodwinking passengers and taxpayers into believing that private operators are “investing” in Britain.
RMT repeated its charge that rail companies — including state-owned operators in France, Germany, the Netherlands and elsewhere — are creaming off hundreds of millions of pounds in profits and taxpayer subsidies to cushion their own train services.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “The much-hyped Rail Delivery Group’s plans for Britain’s railways do not stand up to scrutiny and are exposed as yet another fraud.
“There is not a penny piece of new money in any of this and the cash that is being talked up is British taxpayer and fare-payer money.
“It is double-accounting on an epic scale which leaves the foreign companies that own the vast bulk of Britain’s railways free to carry on fleecing passengers in the UK in order to invest in services in Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam.”
He called for Britain’s rail services to be taken back into public ownership.
Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said: “The railway needs strategic direction and integration under public control, not more tinkering around the edges of a failed system that is letting passengers down.
“Labour will bring our railways back into public hands, run in the interest of passengers, rather than private profit.”