We welcome the decision by the secretary of state for transport today to bring the East Coast back into public ownership – at least temporarily, using the vehicle of directly operated railways ltd – and hope that he will now bring the rest of our railways back into public ownership, too.
Because this is the third time in ten years that a private company has messed up on the east coast main line. When it was run in the public sector, it returned more than £1bn to the Treasury.
It’s important that staff, and passengers, are properly protected while, once again, the transport secretary tries to patch up a failing franchise system that everyone knows doesn’t work. Britain’s railways should be run, successfully, as a public service, not for private profit. Because they cannot do it.
It’s only sad that Tory dogma – wedded to the failed model of privatisation – means they will return this line to the private sector, doubtless to fail again, in the not too distant future.