Rail passenger journeys increased by almost 5% in the first three months of 2011 compared with 2010, totalling 316 million journeys.
Yet in spite of this success story, the impending McNulty Report to Government is, according to industry briefings attended by the union, likely to be ‘full of doom, gloom and misery’, ASLEF say.
“It would take a special person to remain in moan mode while passenger figures increase, punctuality improves, journey times decrease and delays drastically reduce,” said ASLEF’s general secretary Keith Norman.
The union particularly warns against McNulty’s likely proposals to give train operators (TOCs) control of the infrastructure (‘vertical integration’).
He is expected to argue that this should be introduced right away in Merseyside, Scotland, Greater Anglia, South West, Southern, Southeastern, the Western region and Wales.
ASLEF believes reintroducing the profit motive into the maintenance of infrastructure would be a very dangerous step. The maintenance of the track must remain under public control, the union believes.
ASLEF say they are also very wary about expected proposals to ‘downgrade’ rural services.