Renationalise The Railways Now!

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THE Office of Rail Regulation is to launch an investigation into the ‘major disruption to passengers’ caused by ‘overrunning engineering work’ in London over Christmas.

In fact the privatised rail system was brought to a standstill by the rail short-cut ‘savings’ imposed by its owners!

Kings Cross and Paddington stations were shut down and many thousands of people who were redirected to Finsbury Park were put in danger by its vastly overcrowded platforms, resulting in a situation where that station was also closed, and thousands were left shivering in the streets in the icy cold.

This catastrophe continued yesterday with Kings Cross remaining closed, and no service between London, Paddington and Reading.

Network Rail managing director Robin Gisby apologised, saying: ‘We’ve let a lot of people down today’ while Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin demanded an explanation from Network Rail, which is responsible for the UK’s privatised train network.

Gisby told BBC News: ‘Unfortunately some signalling problems at Paddington have gone badly wrong until early this afternoon, and we had some machinery break down on Christmas Day into Boxing Day, to the north of Kings Cross.’

He added Network Rail was doing all it could ‘not to repeat the dreadful disruption caused today’.

It says something about the state of the privatised, run for profit railways, where passengers come a poor second to profit margins, that he was unable to guarantee that the ‘dreadful disruption’ would not be repeated!

The attitude of millions of passengers to this latest anti-social behaviour by the privatised for profit only railways is quite straightforward.

They don’t need an inquiry. They have had enough years of experience of ever higher fares and standing room only travel to convince them that the rail must be renationalised and be restored as a public service!

Passengers have had enough of the lame apologies and even lamer excuses and pledges such as that which followed the Xmas rail collapse.

Transport Secretary McLoughlin added yesterday: ‘The situation on the railways this weekend has been totally unacceptable. Passengers must be able to trust that vital engineering works on the rail network will be completed on time.

‘I will be asking Network Rail to set out what went wrong and how they can learn lessons, but its priority must be to get services running into Kings Cross as well as Paddington.’

In other word nothing is going to change at all, except that the rail industry bosses will be allowed to continue with their disintegration of the system.

Labour yesterday condemned the government for allowing almost the entire rail network to be shut down on Boxing Day.

Shadow transport secretary Michael Dugher said: ‘Now we see this further unacceptable disruption, just as people try and get home after Christmas.’

The situation is definitely unacceptable. Currently Finsbury Park station commuters are being advised to avoid Finsbury Park station altogether if possible, while Network Rail said a reduced service to and from London Kings Cross was expected to operate on Sunday, but journeys could be retimed and take longer than expected.

In fact the shadow Labour transport secretary yesterday refused to pledge that the first action of the Labour Party, if elected, as the government in May will be to renationalise the railways and put it under the management of workers and commuters committees.

Labour did not make that pledge and will not make it because the Labour leadership is in competition with the Tories for the right-wing vote and wants nothing to do with socialist policies.

The rail unions must now step into the breach, and mobilise along with passengers a national campaign for a workers government that will renationalise the rail network as part of its socialist programme to put an end to crisis ridden British capitalism.