On 17 June, rail campaigners staged protests at stations along passenger routes that the government plans to bring into a new super rail franchise covering London, as well as areas of the south and east. Protests were held at 12 stations in the proposed franchise area, from Peterborough to Brighton including stations in London, where campaigners met passengers, asking them to write to their MP.
The Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise (TSGN) is due to start in September 2014, with plans including driver-only operated trains, axing all guards, de-staffing at stations and loss of train repair staff. The public will be put at risk, with clear implications for those with disabilities, the elderly and women travelling at night.
Jenny Jones, London Assembly Member attended the protest outside London Victoria station, where campaigners informed passengers about the campaign, handing postcards to them.
Rail staff affected by the creation of the new franchise later gathered outside the offices of Go Ahead, who, together with Keolis (an arm of French state railways), has been awarded the franchise contract. Govia, the joint venture of the two companies, will receive the profits, while taxpayers and passengers lose out.
At Go Ahead’s offices, rail staff handed in a letter jointly signed by the unions involved in the campaign to Sarah Boundy, Go Ahead Corporate Communications Director. The letter calls for a formal meeting with Go Ahead and the Department for Transport to discuss the concerns of rail unions and supporting organisations.
The day of action was part of our ongoing campaigning work on the TSGN franchise, for which we have also written to the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP.
Please write to your MP asking them to sign EDM 108, calling on the government to review the franchise and protect passenger services and jobs.