Rail Union RMT have warned that pressure from the business sector is building up on the Government for privatisation of rail infrastructure in a move which would drag the industry back to the days of Hatfield and Potters Bar with the creation of “Railtrack Two”.
RThey claim that stories have already been placed suggesting that Merseyrail and Scotrail could be the testing grounds for infrastructure privatisation.
In addition, RMT has raised serious concerns that recent ORR analysis into the efficiency of Network Rail was carried out by an organisation called Railconsult – a subsidiary of Balfour Beatty Rail, who would clearly be potential beneficiaries from any move to break up and sell off Network Rail.
In a letter to the National Audit Office, RMT General Secretary Bob Crow warns that Network Rail is being set up for privatisation through a mixture of poor quality research and pressure from the private sector:
“….we believe the ORR’s approach to Network Rail efficiency is far from thorough, narrow in scope and has been compromised by its relations with vested interests. The McNulty review into the future efficiency and structure of the railways is jointly sponsored by the ORR which means the Rail Regulator’s shortcomings, which have already seriously damaged the rail industry, will also lead to a poor deal for the taxpayer and passengers.”
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“No one believes in reform of Network Rail more than RMT – we want to see the organisation transformed into a genuine public body, properly open and accountable and designed to deliver the highest quality of public service free from the greed of the private sector and the corrosive impact of big-business culture.
“However, all the drive at the moment from the right wing and their allies in the private sector is to rip up the publicly-owned infrastructure and re-privatise it in an action replay of the Railtrack experiment that led to a whole sequence of avoidable disasters on our railways. All the dice have been loaded to achieve that outcome and RMT will continue to expose the manoeuvring that is going on behind the scenes, unravel the distorted reviews and assessments and fight for a genuinely, publicly-owned railway system that ends the rip-off of privatisation.”