Unions describe 'Great Train Robbery' as rail fares increase
Unions warning of job losses and worsening service ahead of West Coast Mainline decision
Disruptions on the West Coast Main Line after the tracks flood and a wall collapses
In the wake of the cancelled franchise for the West Coast Main Line, one leading rail union claims almost half of the existing franchises are now receiving public bailouts.
The RMT claim 8 of the 19 franchises are being subsidised by the taxpayer and are calling for the full renationalisation of the railways.
The union also claims that revenue support payments made to train companies has increased from £290 million a year to more than £450 million.
– Bob Crow RMT General Secretary
"The expensive shambles of rail franchising extends well beyond the fiasco on the West Coast mainline as these figures show that a majority of the UK's rail routes will soon be on corporate welfare due to a mixture of bogus train operator projections and government and departmental incompetence.
"Hundreds of millions of pounds that could go towards improving our railways or keeping down fares is being soaked up by this racket which is lining the pockets of the private rail companies at taxpayers' expense."
The Department for Transport has suspended 3 members of staff over flaws in the franchise bidding process for the West Coast Main Line. A full investigation is now taking place and department officials are declining to make any other comments.
A Cumbrian MP has said that the fact that direct services from Manchester to the Lakes line and Furness are missing is unacceptable.
South Lakes MP Tim Farron has reiterated his call for direct trains from the Lake District to Manchester to be protected.
Plans to electrify routes around Manchester to create a “hub” would see an hourly service from the city to Preston, Carlisle and Scotland. But direct services to the Lakes line and Furness lines in Cumbria do not form part of the Department for Transport’s “High Level Output Specification.”
Speaking this morning, Tim said:
“It’s great news that the Government is committing such levels of investment into our railways – and capacity improvements on the West Coast Main Line, and more direct services from Manchester up the West Coast Main Line through Cumbria and beyond are great news.
“However, direct services from Manchester to the Lakes line and Furness line are missing from the Government’s specification – and this is not acceptable.
– Tim Farron MP
“Thousands of local residents have signed the ‘Cumbria Better Connected’ petition launched by Barrow MP John Woodcock and myself last month; and many in the tourism industry have raised their concerns directly with the Government and rail operators.
“I’ll be continuing to talk to Network Rail and First Transpennine Express to push for the retention of a decent through service from the Lake District to Manchester as these plans are developed.”
The latest on the trains is that the West Coast Mainline is expected to remain closed until tomorrow morning - there are coaches running between Carlisle and Preston
There are rail delays between Lancaster and Carlisle because of flooding at Oxenholme.
Virgin rail say delays of about an hour will continue until further notice
The train line between Carlisle and West Cumbria that has been closed since the weekend will reopen on Wednesday. Divers were sent out on Tuesday to examine Cummersdale Viaduct after fears it was damaged by the weekend's floods. The foundations were found to be unaffected.
Lee Wasnidge from Northern rail explained to ITV Border why they felt it necessary to close the viaduct at Cummersdale in north Cumbria. The move has caused disruption to rail services between the city and west Cumbria.
The Viaduct already had scaffolding on it for routine maintenance and so that it could be painted.
Inspections will be carried out to determine if it is safe to ropen the viaduct this week.
Network Rail has confirmed services between Carlisle and Edinburgh Waverley have now resumed.
Services had been suspended because of severe flooding north of Carlisle.
Floods have caused a wall to collapse on the West Coast Mainline at Caldew Maltings, near Carlisle.
A pylon carrying overhead cables has also become unstable.
All rail services north of Carlisle are currently suspended because of flooding.