Greens: Railways should be in public hands

An East Coast train. Picture Bruce Rollinson
An East Coast train. Picture Bruce Rollinson

The rail network should be brought back into public ownership and the East Coast Mainline should not have been privatised again, says north Northumberland’s Green Party candidate.

The North East Green Party is urging the House of Commons to vote for the Bill for a publicly-owned railway being presented by the Green MP Caroline Lucas in Parliament today. This comes two days before the East Coast Mainline is to be handed over to Stagecoach and Virgin.

Rachael Roberts, Green Party candidate for Berwick.

Rachael Roberts, Green Party candidate for Berwick.

Rachael Roberts, Green Party candidate for the Berwick constituency, said: “The Greens are the only party with a commitment to bring our railways back into public hands and to invest in bringing fares down as well as improving services and expanding the network.

“Caroline Lucas’ Bill will save money, with no upfront cost, by simply waiting for each franchise to expire and then saving the considerable costs of the franchising process. In contrast, the Labour Party are only promising to allow a public body to bid for each new franchise, despite pressure from some Labour MPs who support Caroline Lucas’ Bill.

“The East Coast Mainline is an essential lifeline for all in Northumberland, and passing it to private corporations is creating a private monopoly. We must reverse the foolishness of breaking up a railway system which, by its very nature, needs to be operated as one network.

“In mainland Europe, between 80 and 100 per cent of passenger train services are provided by the public sector. We are determined to fight for this bold change for the common good.”