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TRAINS on the InterCity West Coast route will not be nationalised after the government awarded the contract to yet another private company.
Italian-Scottish firm First Trenitalia will take over from Richard Branson’s Virgin Trains on the West Coast Main Line from London to Glasgow on December 8.
The move means that more than three-quarters of rail franchises in Britain will be at least partly owned by foreign states or businesses.
Labour’s shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald MP said it was a “gross error of judgement” by the Department for Transport.
“The ghost of Chris Grayling’s rank incompetence haunts our rail services as the new Transport Secretary Grant Shapps follows his predecessor in putting private profit before passengers and the public interest.
“The government cancelled the Southeastern rail franchise competition just last week, admitting that the rail franchising process will not deliver for passengers or the taxpayer.
“It’s time for our railways to be brought into public ownership so they are run in the interests of passengers, instead of ripping them off to line the pockets of profiteers and shareholders.”
RMT union general secretary Mick Cash also branded the deal a “political fix.”
He said: “Instead of following the popular public-sector route, the Tories are taking yet another gamble on the crucial West Coast lines with one of the dwindling number of private operator consortia left in the game, in a move that RMT believes is doomed to failure and sure to result in yet more rail chaos.
“RMT will take whatever action is required to protect out members pay, jobs, working conditions and pensions on these vital inter-city routes.”
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