Andy McDonald MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, responding to the news that the Government is to force Network Rail to hand control of tracks to private train operating companies, said:
“Privatising our rail infrastructure would be an irresponsible move. The last thing our railways need is another layer of fragmentation and complexity.
“Train operating companies will only engage with this if they can extract more profit from taxpayers and fare-payers. It’s remarkable that operators such as Southern who display a cavalier attitude towards cost cutting and safety might be invited to take responsibility for the repair and maintenance of the tracks.
“The last time the Tories privatised the tracks resulted in a series of fatal accidents that led to the creation of Network Rail in the first place. We don’t want to see a return to the bad old days of Railtrack.”