8 February 2018
RMT Press Office:
East Coast rail shambles deepens as RMT reveals that Tory government have smashed apart public sector fall-back option
RAIL UNION RMT today accused the Government of an “act of mindless industrial vandalism” as it was confirmed that the public sector rail franchise failsafe option, Directly Operated Railways, was broken up and outsourced to a consortium of consultants and private sector outfits in 2015 after it successfully rescued the East Coast Mainline from its last private collapse in 2009.
RMT says that those actions have compounded the shambles that Chris Grayling has blundered into on the ECML – leaving him without the fall-back of a publicly-owned provider of last resort.
Up until 2015, DOR, a public operation, had shadowed private rail franchises and was on standby to pick up the pieces and keep the trains running in the event of a train operating company failing. That is exactly what they did, with huge success and to public acclaim, when they stepped up to the plate after National Express threw back the keys on the East Coast routes in 2009.
When the East Coast Mainline was re-privatised in 2015, ushering in the disastrous Virgin/Stagecoach operation which now stands on the brink of collapse, out of pure ideological spite the Tory Government killed off DOR and outsourced its functions to a partnership of private accountants and management consultants Arup Group, Ernst & Young and SNC Lavalin Rail & Transit.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“Out of sheer political spite the Tory Government smashed up and outsourced the publicly-owned provider of last resort, Directly Operated Railways, and that act of mindless industrial vandalism has now come back to haunt them.
“DOR was shut down, broken up and outsourced in 2015 simply because it had proved in the six years it controlled the East Coast routes that it could run a railway better than the spivs and speculators from the private sector.
“It is now imperative to avoid total chaos that the Government re-establish a publicly owned and controlled operation to take back control of the East Coast Main Line on a permanent basis.”