Rail workers’ union RMT held a series of campaigning events on Monday of this week against the threat to jobs, fares and services from new franchises on the Northern and Trans-Pennine Express routes.
The union is fighting against ticket office closures, cuts to station and train staff, other service cuts and fare increases.
The franchises are run by Dutch state-owned firm Abellio—which was recently handed the contract to run Scotrail by the Scottish government—and outsourcing giant Serco.
While passengers face the misery of overcrowded, expensive services both firms received almost 70 percent of the income for their joint venture running Northern Rail from taxpayer subsidies. Over the last five years Northern Rail has made profits of over £170 million.
The top five subsidised rail firms’ profits in the same period were £400 million. In 2012/2013 alone they took over £2 billion in public subsidies.
As commuters return to work after the holidays they get little benefit from the funding their taxes provide. Instead they face yet more inflation busting fare rises averaging 2.2 percent.
Rail privatisation chaos continues and the Tories are trying to ram more franchises through before May’s election. The only solution to this mess is to renationalise the railway and bring it back under public control.