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Rail union RMT today (Tuesday 4 December) called for the resignation of Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and for swift action to begin bringing the railways back into public ownership, as MPs on the Transport Select Committee laid into the timetable chaos across the north and the south in May this year.

The union says that for the Committee to question whether this is the worst time in the railways’ history shows just how bad things have got under the broken, fragmented privatised mess created 25 years ago by the Tories.

This bombshell MPs’ report catalogues:

• Failures which will “live long in the memories” of passengers for a prolonged period of intensely inconvenient, costly and dangerous disruption

• The “astonishing complexity of a disaggregated railway … a fragmented, overcomplicated system with competing contractual interests”, with the Secretary of State “at the apex of the system”

• How the “governance and decision-making structures in place for the May 2018 rail timetabling change were not fit for purpose”

• People with sensory, mobility and other impairments were disproportionately affected and the ORR needs to “prove its effectiveness in this policy area by … stepping up its enforcement activity including using its powers to levy fines on train operating companies”

• How “a fifth of rail passengers have suffered appalling services” and a “fares increase in these circumstances would confirm the fares system is broken”

• How “the Secretary of State for Transport is responsible for the structure of the system that controls and runs our railways … it is therefore not reasonable for the Secretary of State to absolve himself of all responsibility”

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“This report represents the most devastating official indictment of 25 years of Britain’s privatised railways and makes it crystal clear that the system has failed, the man in charge of the system has failed and no amount of reviews or fiddling around the edges will make right something so fundamentally wrong and broken as the mess that passengers are faced with on a daily basis.

“This bombshell report lays the blame clearly with the disastrous fragmentation of our railways and with the man at the controls, the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. He was asleep at the wheel of a broken, fragmented, over-complicated system that is solely of his party’s creation. He has presided over a collective, systemic failure and passengers deserve nothing less than his resignation.

“Chris Grayling’s rail review is nothing more than a smokescreen designed to deflect from his failures and the failures of privatisation. It is not just that the governance and decision-making structures are not fit for purpose, it is the whole rotten system – and it should be put back together and put into public ownership immediately.”



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