2 March 2018
RMT Press Office:
Rail union RMT warned today that Transport Secretary Chris Grayling’s claim that the option of renationalising the failing East Coast franchise will be looked at seems highly improbable. According to the latest annual report from Directly Owned Railways he has effectively cut loose his own public sector life boat.
Published on 21st December 2017 – three weeks after the latest failure on East Coast broke – it states clearly that the company is "in the process of winding down its remaining obligations and moving to dormant company status".
In fact, the contract with the partnership comprising Arup, SNC-Lavalin Transport Advisory (InterFleet), and EY to provide services to support the Secretary of State in connection with his duties as operator of last resort, was only for 2 years and commenced in November 2015. Although an extension for 12 months was possible under the contract, no announcement was made in November last year, and the annual report reflects the cessation of trading activities.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
"Since Chris Grayling announced that the Virgin East Coast operation was being wound down due to a massive financial crisis there has been a deafening silence from both him and his officials.
“Now we know why, the Government have effectively cut loose their last remaining public sector fall back operation, hanging one of Britain's main inter city routes out to dry. This is mismanagement on a truly epic scale by the specialist in failure, Mr Grayling.
"Passengers and staff remain well and truly in the dark over the future of the East Coast Main Line.
“There are RMT members on the job today who have gone from British Rail, to GNER, to National Express, to Directly Operated Railways, to Virgin/Stagecoach and who are now left wondering who their sixth employer will be in little more than two decades on this vital section of Britain’s rail network. That is a shameful way to treat the workforce and shines the spotlight on the continuing chaos of rail privatisation.
“The solution is simple. End the fixation with the spivs and speculators from the private sector and bring the whole lot back in house, on a permanent basis, with immediate effect.”
RMT calls for Grayling to go and an end to the shameful fiasco of rail privatisation The government may be forced into taking over the East Coast Mainline after admitting the Virgin-branded franchise was about to collapse. Earlier this month hapless Transport Secretary Chris Grayling told MPs that Stagecoach, which operates the line in conjunction...