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Rail Union RMT warned today that new franchise plans will allow train operators to axe services, cut train capacity and frequencies and stop at fewer stations in order to maximise profits.

Bob CrowThe RMT is describing the plan as a "blueprint for a new round of Beeching-style cuts to the UK's rail services."

The consultation document unveiled in the Commons yesterday says:
Ö"further flexibility could be provided so that operators could reduce service frequency or change calling patterns"

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

"It is clear that by flexibility the Government mean that train operators will be able to chop back services to suit them and concentrate on profitable routes. This would be nothing less than a blueprint for a new round of Beeching-style savage cuts to rail services

"It is also clear that the franchise holders will be able to alter calling patterns and cut out station stops as they see fit. All told, this consultation document gives the green light to the train operators to ramp up their exploitation of the travelling public on a massive scale.

"What this set of proposals means is longer, gold-plated franchises, ring-fencing the profits of the private sector while passengers pay through the nose to travel on condemned and overcrowded trains on creaking and poorly-maintained tracks. The private train operators, who have ripped off £2 billion in dividends from the railways since privatisation, are being handed a one-way ticket to the bank by the ConDems.

"The government are also paving the way for a land grab by the private companies of the valuable assets held by Network Rail and are paving the way for the breakup of the network with dire consequences as they fragment what's left of the national system.

"Every study has shown that publicly owned railways in Europe deliver the best value money as the profits and shareholder dividends are stripped out of the equation. The ConDems are ignoring that and are giving the private train operators everything they have demanded in order to ratchet up the exploitation of the travelling public and the British taxpayer."

RMT warns of axed services as train operators are given green light to scrap unprofitable routes in new franchise plan

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