Today, 31 March, union activists and rail campaigners took action at over 40 stations across the UK, meeting passengers to raise awareness of the benefits of public ownership of our railways.
The protests, called by the joint union Action for Rail campaign, coincide with new research carried out for the TUC by Transport for Quality of Life, which shows that £1.5bn could be saved over the next five years if routes, including the Northern, Transpennine and West Coast Main Line, were run in the public sector.
At London Waterloo station, campaigners were joined by ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash, as well as National Officer for Unite Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe.
Contracts on 11 lines will come up for renewal between 2015 and 2020. The new TUC commissioned research estimates that £520m in shareholder dividends could be saved if the 11 lines were publicly owned. The study also says that the following could happen:
Before the end of 2015 it would be possible to introduce free off peak travel for children travelling with their parents.
From 2017 regulated fares – including season and anytime day tickets – could be cut by 10 per cent.
From 2020 all fares could be cut by 3 per cent.
The protests follow nationwide protests for public ownership in August 2014 and January 2015, to keep up the pressure for a nationally integrated railway under public ownership.