LETTER: Return trains to public ownership

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I am sure most commuters who have experienced the nightmare of travelling by train over the last few months will welcome the demand made by our local MPs for Southern and Thameslink to immediately improve rail services or risk losing their franchise.

Horsham Labour Party agree with our local MPs that these companies should not be running our trains.

We disagree however, with the suggestion that new private sector companies should be found to replace existing franchisees. Instead we believe that these franchises should return to public ownership.

This will ensure that investment in infrastructure and rolling stock are delivered on the basis of need and public safety and not for the benefit of senior managers and shareholders.

Members of Horsham Labour Party took part in the National Day of Action on Monday 4th January when we handed out postcards to commuters at Horsham and Littlehaven stations, asking them to support our call for the public ownership of our railways.

We believe that it is wrong that rail users should continue to pay ever larger ticket prices whilst suffering such a dramatic deterioration in service.

Overcrowding, standing for long periods of a journey, cancellations and delays are not an acceptable way to run a public service which so many of us rely on to get to and from work.

Private companies running our rail network have consistently failed commuters. They clearly do not understand the concept of public service and face no true competition once they have secured the franchise.

An incoming Labour Government has pledged to bring rail companies back into public ownership. For those readers not convinced by this approach take a look at the experience of the East Coast mainline where GNER were stripped of its franchise in 2007 and National Express failed in 2009.

Only when the East Coast mainline returned into public ownership from 2009 to 2015 did the service improve and by the time it was once more privatised it had delivered £1 billion of profit to the Exchequer.

If you believe it is time to take the railways back into public ownership go to www.actionforrail.org.uk or write to your local MP and make them aware of your views.

DAVID HIDE

Chair, Horsham Labour Party, Clarence Road, Horsham

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