Labour hold “Rail Mayhem’ campaign day to hold Chris Grayling to account
Labour have held a “Rail Mayhem” campaign day today (Monday) to mark the first working day that the running of the East Coast Mainline returns to public control following the collapse of the Virgin and Stagecoach franchise and to hold Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to account for his poor handling of the railways.
There are over 200 planned Labour events across the country which will see activists handing out leaflets to commuters.
This morning one was held at Blackpool North station by Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Blackpool North and Cleveleys Chris Webb.
The Department for Transport plans to hand services back to the private sector on the East Coast Line following temporary public control and despite the East Coast having failed three times in under a decade and last year’s £2bn bailout of Virgin/Stagecoach.
It was also revealed last week in leaked emails that Chris Grayling’s department were warned three years ago about the potential for commuter chaos on the railways as a result of the train timetable changes by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) and Northern, but Chris Grayling failed to act.
Labour is demanding that the East Coast is not handed back to the private sector and that the entire network is brought back into public ownership.
Labour would go further by stripping the franchises from other failing operators and run services as part of an integrated railway run under public ownership.
Andy McDonald MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, said:
“The rail mayhem that we’ve seen on our railways was caused by one man and that man is Chris Grayling.
“Passengers across the country are right to be angry at the way he has handled the latest in a long run of rail fiascos.
“Chris Grayling has lost all credibility and it’s time for him to go.”
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, said:
“The East Coast mainline, and all other lines should be run in the interests of passengers and taxpayers, not private profit.
“Passengers, our economy and our environment need affordable fares and reliable services, which Tory policy is failing to deliver.
“The next Labour government will take our railways back into public ownership as franchises expire, using savings to cap fares, and would upgrade and expand the rail network.”
Chris Webb, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, said:
“Here in Blackpool we’ve been suffering for months because of the failings of Northern Rail, Network Rail and the new timetable signed off by Ministers in the Department of Transport.
“Across Blackpool businesses have seen a 15pc drop in revenue, which is in direct correlation with the 15pc of tourists who travel to Blackpool via train.
"One commuter this morning told me how he had to sleep in Preston station on Friday night because his train home to Blackpool was cancelled.
"Enough is enough and we deserve better. This would not still be going on if it was happening in London.
“Local businesses in Blackpool should be compensated for the lost revenue and local commuters deserve substantial compensation.”