When I asked about this issue during Welsh Questions in Parliament today, Alun Cairns, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, refused to give a clear answer.
My question in full:
“Many Welsh passengers use railway lines under the control of the UK government, like the Great Western Line, and they are concerned about suggestions that the Government is going to break up and privatise parts of Network Rail. Can the Minister rule this out?”
Mr Cairns would not answer the question, he only mentioned only the recent agreement to invest in electrification of the main line from London to Swansea.
I am disappointed, but not surprised, that my question wasn’t given a proper answer today. I, and my constituents, are concerned about the threat of privatisation to Network Rail. Privatisation of train operating companies has led to fragmentation, a bad deal for the travelling public as well as the public purse and unreliable operation.
Network Rail should remain in public ownership.
ASLEF, the union of train drivers and operators, are also concerned about the threat of privatisation.
ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan said: “ASLEF strongly opposes any plans to privatise Network Rail and return the railway to the bad old days of Railtrack. The safety of the network is too important to be run for profit.”
You can watch the question session online here.
Photo by Jeremy Segrott via Flickr