Rail protests fight East Coast privatisation

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RAIL campaigners staged protests at York, Doncaster and other stations across the East Coast Main Line against government plans to re-privatise the service.

Passengers were also urged to support a campaign to keep the route under public control.

More than 60 MPs from the Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green and Scottish National (SNP) parties have signed an early-day motion calling on the Government to keep the line public.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Privatising the East Coast defies all logic. Since it was re-nationalised the line has gone from strength to strength. This decision shows the Government is clinging on to its outdated faith in privatisation at all costs and is determined to remain blind to the fact that public ownership has been a success for taxpayers and passengers alike.

“By taking the East Coast out of public ownership the Government will be passing the income the line raises into the pockets of corporate shareholders, when it should be using the cash to reduce rail fares and improve services for passengers.”

Mick Whelan, leader of the train drivers’ union Aslef, said: “It’s about time the Government, rather than rushing to privatise the East Coast Main Line before it is voted out of power next year, listened to the views of the travelling public and stakeholders in the industry, and left the East Coast in successful public ownership, returning money to the Treasury, rather than being siphoned off as private profit.”