HS2

04.03.16

Row over Network Rail’s future worsens as campaign launched to stop station sales

Activists are joining the debate over Network Rail’s future as anti-privatisation group ‘We Own It’ has launched a week of protests against proposals to sell off 18 major stations.

The protests began at King’s Cross station today and will be followed by actions at Bristol Temple Meads and Glasgow Central.

The future of the stations is not yet known for sure, but Network Rail has commissioned banking firm Citigroup to look at options to solve its financial problems, including a debt which is set to hit £50bn by 2020.

The stations up for sale include London Waterloo, Manchester Piccadilly and Birmingham New Street, and Citigroup’s report is due back by the end of the year.

Cat Hobbs, director of We Own It, said: “Privatisation of stations will be a disaster for the UK public. These are some of the greatest public spaces – and the public wants to keep them that way.

“Last time rail infrastructure was privatised it was a public safety disaster. Passengers and the public don’t want a return to the days of Railtrack. We deserve better.”

The campaign is also backed by trade union Aslef and Green MP Caroline Lucas, and a poll of RTM readers found 47% in favour of the stations remaining in Network Rail’s control.

But Network Rail’s search for a solution to its financial difficulties is set to continue, with its chair Sir Peter Hendy admitting recently to the London Assembly Transport Committee that the organisation will need an unprecedented amount of business partnerships in CP6 to get rail improvements funded.

The row over the future of the stations and of Network Rail’s finances in general looks set to worsen until Citigroup deliver their report, so keep an eye on RTM as we bring you all the latest developments.

Comments

Gb   15/03/2016 at 21:44

Short of cash to fund stations? Simple solution: SCRAP HS2 and use the cash to fund these stations and other rail enhancements and development.

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