Majority ‘wants railways back in public hands’

Most people want Britain’s railways to be returned to public ownership amid the “fiasco” of who will run the West Coast mainline, according to a survey.

A poll of 1,000 members of the public by the train drivers’ union Aslef showed that 70 per cent were in favour of renationalisation, the highest majority returned in such polls. Over 80 per cent wanted profits made by train companies ploughed back into the industry.

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Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said: “This shows that rather than tinkering with the existing system, the public supports public ownership of the railways and of the Government taking its responsibility to provide a national, efficient railway service.”

Union leaders told the TUC conference in Brighton the legal challenge by Virgin Rail to the awarding of the West Coast contract to First Group had delayed its signing, demonstrating the “flawed approach” to the provision of rail services.