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LABOUR will be releasing an “ambitious” white paper that details plans for “new enhancements” for the railways, York Central MP Rachael Maskell told train drivers at their conference today.
She criticised Transport Secretary Chris Grayling for “switching the investment on and off as if it’s his own personal train set.”
Labour has a 30-year plan for investment and bringing the railway back into public hands that will be launched “soon,” she told delegates at this year’s Aslef union conference.
“All those franchises that are timed out will come straight back into ownership and infrastructure projects will be properly planned,” she added.
“And as we rejoin track with train, and rebuild Britain’s railways, even Conservatives now recognise that public ownership is the way forward.”
Ms Maskell also touched upon the need for speeding up the provision of “clean transport systems” to meet climate change targets by arguing that better public transport would encourage more people to not drive their own cars.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn attended the conference. Conference chair Daniel Masrani said: “For the first time in a long time a Labour leader is here to speak to our annual assembly of delegates.”
Mr Corbyn said: “I am proud to be the first Labour leader to come to an Aslef conference with a pledge to bring our railways back into public ownership.
“… On the wall of my office is an Aslef poster from 1916 that shows the important role that unions play in industry and in society.
“You’ve been through a lot. Nationalisation in 1948, the end of steam in the 1960s, the shift to diesel and electric, then privatisation.
“I want the unions to play a role in planning the return of the railways to public ownership.
“… Because we want an affordable, sustainable, transport system and we need an imaginative response. That’s why we will be investing in every region to make sure every area gets its fair share and why we will have a balanced rail-road strategy for freight.”
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