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Railways RMT reveals how the Tories have ‘smashed apart’ the public-sector fallback for East Coast Main Line

THE TORIES have “smashed apart” and sold off the public-sector fallback that could have rescued the shambolic East Coast Main Line, rail union RMT revealed yesterday.

Virgin and Stagecoach are set to dump the Kings Cross to Edinburgh service, leaving the taxpayer with a £2 billion bill.

It’s the third time privateers have failed to run the line, with Sea Containers the first to fail and National Express abandoning the franchise in 2009 after it proved incapable of running it.

Ministers formed Directly Operated Railways (DOR) to take over ECML.

Six years in public ownership saw efficiency and passenger satisfaction soaring and the East Coast Main Line (ECML) handed a £1bn surplus to the Treasury.

But the Tories handed the successful franchise over to Virgin and Stagecoach in 2014, only for the model to fail again.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling admitted in the Commons this week that ECML may again have to be taken back into public ownership.

But the RMT revealed that the successful public operator had been broken up and outsourced to a consortium of consultants and private sector outfits in 2015.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Out of sheer political spite the Tory government smashed up and outsourced the publicly owned provider of last resort, Directly Operated Railways, and that act of mindless industrial vandalism has now come back to haunt them.

“DOR was shut down, broken up and outsourced in 2015 simply because it had proved in the six years it controlled the East Coast routes that it could run a railway better than the spivs and speculators from the private sector.

“It is now imperative to avoid total chaos that the government re-establish a publicly owned and controlled operation to take back control of ECML.”


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