'Railtrack is facing bankruptcy. It cannot survive as it is without the injection of further government money.' That is the verdict of officials in the Strategic Rail Authority, the government's rail watchdog.
Railtrack has demanded an extra £2 billion of public money. Last month the company said it would stop essential safety work unless the government gave it £1 billion. The latest demand should seal the privatised company's fate. The government could nationalise it, with huge public support and not a penny paid to the rail barons.
Instead New Labour is considering handing yet more money to Railtrack or allowing it to be taken over by another company-US multinational Bechtel is already in the frame. The turmoil engulfing Railtrack adds urgency to the 'Take Back the Track' campaign launched by the three rail unions calling for renationalisation.
Petitions and leaflets from Jenny Smith, Take Back the Track, 9 Arkwright Road, Hampstead, London NW3 6AB.