Labour steps up campaign to keep East Coast On Track

Durham MPs ontrack campaignLabour MPs from across the region took the campaign against the privatisation of the East Coast Main Line to local railway stations this morning.

Ian Mearns, Chi Onwurah, Catherine McKinnell, Mary Glindon, Emma Lewell-Buck, Dave Anderson and Stephen Hepburn campaigned amongst the commuters at Newcastle Central. Whilst Roberta Blackman-Woods, Grahame Morris and Pat Glass were at Durham station. 

Darlington MP Jenny Chapman joined East Coast staff and campaigners at Darlington station. 

 Maria Eagle MP, Shadow Transport Secretary, said:

"Since being run on a not for private profit basis, East Coast will have paid £800m back to the taxpayer by the end of this financial year and reinvested all further £40m profit in the service. It makes no sense to go back to a failed model of franchising that saw two private operators fail mid-way through their contracts. That’s why Labour is now stepping up its campaign to Keep East Coast On Track.

 “Ministers must stop claiming that the planned investment in the East Coast Main Line, including the new generation of Intercity trains, is dependent on this sell-off when they know that is untrue. The fact is that passengers in the North East will benefit from an upgraded line and new trains without the need for a private train company running services for profit.” 

 Ends

Notes to Editors

 1. Directly Operated Rail (DOR) operates the InterCity East Coast service and is a profitable Train Operating Company which is both a net contributor to the Exchequer and reinvests all further profit in services. Since 2009, it has returned around £640 million to the taxpayer through service payments to the DfT. (Source: FT.com – March 3rd 2013 http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1e7ce20c-8427-11e2-96f2-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2OYVyIZPF)

“DOR has invested some £40 million in its East Coast business since 2009, including infrastructure and assets, and in people and training;” (source DOR public letter Monday 15 October 2012 http://www.directlyoperatedrailways.co.uk/PDF/DORCommentICWC.pdf)

2. The Government’s planned investment in the East Coast Mainline is funded by the taxpayer and delivered via Network Rail, which receives £3.5bn of public money each year. In July last year DfT announced £240m of planned investment for the East Coast, on top of the new generation of InterCity trains which will run on East Coast.

“£240m investment in capacity and connectivity improvements for the East Coast Main Line, benefitting communities from the home counties to the North-East…....That is on top of the improvements to which we’ve already committed, including faster journey times from London to Scotland and Wales through the Intercity Express Programme” (Statement on Rail Investment by Secretary of State for Transport (16 July 2012, Hansard) http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm120716/debtext/120716-0001.htm#12071613000780)