12 February 2018
RMT Press Office:
Rail union RMT on Government announcement expected today on "aspiring" to phase out diesel trains by 2040
"RMT awaits the details of the Jo Johnson speech that's being widely spun up and trailed today but it is clear from what is being reported that this announcement is riddled with the most glaring contradictions.
"If you were serious about cracking on with the phasing out of diesel trains you wouldn't be scrapping key electrification projects which will mean the commissioning of more diesel operated fleet. That scrapping of long-planned electrification rail works by Chris Grayling makes a mockery of Jo Johson's "aspiration" to scrap diesel units by 2040.
"There is also the question of who pays for this. There must be no free ride for Britain's rip-off private rail companies at the taxpayers expense.
"The bottom line is that if we hadn't had over two decades of privatisation and profiteering on Britain's railways we wouldn't have ended up jammed in the slow lane. The money siphoned off by the spivs and speculators would have enabled us to keep pace and build a railway fit for purpose.
"Instead of promises of jam tomorrow we need to tackle the crisis on Britain's railways today and that means a planned service, publicly owned and free from the exploitation that has left the British passenger paying the highest fares in Europe to travel on clapped out, rammed out and unreliable trains where private profit comes before public safety."