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Unions say TOCs are ‘intent on resurrecting Beeching’

Campaigners are holding protests today at 35 stations against planned cuts to services and staff.

On the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Beeching report, unions are protesting against the 20,000 jobs they say are at risk, the closure of 675 ticket offices and a 50% increase in the number of unstaffed stations.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Rail firms seem intent on resurrecting the ghost of Dr Beeching, by embarking upon a new era of swingeing railway cuts.

“At a time when passengers are being forced to pay the most expensive train fares in Europe, they also face the prospect of unstaffed stations and guardless trains.

“Instead of chomping at the bit to save money, train operating companies should be looking to improve vital services at stations and on trains. There is no fairness in asking commuters to pay more for less.”

ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan said: “Beeching’s vandalism was the worse example of the malaise of short-term thinking that has beleaguered our industry throughout its history.

“A successful rail network is planned carefully for decades ahead. It isn’t subjected to short-term, utterly-unimaginative sticking-plaster solutions like letting franchises, reducing services, poking up fares and cutting staff.” 

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “Beeching got it badly wrong half a century ago on the future of rail as a popular mode of travel. His butchery of rail services has been matched by more recent generations of politicians in the fragmentation and exploitation of privatisation.

“Now is the time to right the wrongs of the past and put an expanded, integrated and publicly-owned railway at the heart of future transport policy.”

TSSA general secretary Manual Cortes said: “Our railways are a success story despite the repeated attacks by the government, Beeching 50 years ago, privatisation twenty years ago and now McNulty which will see the closure of hundreds of booking offices and thousands of job losses.

“Further cuts are not the answer, as Beeching proved so comprehensively five decades ago. We need an affordable, socially-owned railway like the rest of Europe where passengers always come first.”

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John   05/04/2013 at 16:24

Two wrongs do not make one right! A Heavily unionised Railway led to the downfall of many lines and services by playing into the hands of a Parliamentary Ownership that was, and still largely is, driven by a powerful Road Transport Lobby. Indeed that are being so successful at it that the Unions look as if they are in cahoots with this bnch and neither of them actually gives a stuff about the fare paying passenger or raol freight user as witnessed by us all being held to ransom all the time!!

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