Huddersfield part of national day of action for public ownership of the railways

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“If the private companies that took over the national railways are cutting back and eroding services at a time when the climate crisis demands expanded low-carbon transportation alternatives to keep more of us out of planes, then these services, too must be reclaimed. And after more than two decades of hard experience with privatizations- which has too often involved diminished services combined with higher prices- a great many people are ready to consider that option.”

Naomi Klein ‘This Changes Everything’

We marked the 21st anniversary of the decree to privatise the rail service by protesting at Huddersfield train station. We asked evening rush hour commuters to support our call for returning the train system to public ownership.

The event was part of a co-ordinated day of action with forty stations across the country being leafleted (flyer). It was organised by several campaigns supporting public ownership of the railways, including Bring Back British Rail, the Campaign Against Climate Change and the TSSA trade union.

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Rail privatisation has meant rising fares, low investment and huge profits for shareholders while taking billions in subsidies from the tax payer.

Fares have risen 23% in real terms since 1995. Genuine private sector investment only accounts for 1% of the money going into rail each year. In the period 2013-14 train operating companies paid £183 million to shareholders despite receiving a huge subsidy from taxpayers. Last year £3.8 billion of taxpayers’ money was used to subsidise train operators.

Private ownership of the railways has been expensive to the taxpayer and the customer. A majority of people agree that we need a rail system that is run for the good of people and the planet. £1.2 billion could be saved each year if railways were brought back into public ownership.

Across the country the April Fool’s Day protests brought together trade unionists, environmental campaigners and train users. They engaged with the public by distributing flyers and asking them to leave a message of support for public ownership on www.publicrail.org or #publicrail

“Building a mass movement that has a chance of taking on the corporate forces arrayed against science-based emission reduction will require the broadest possible spectrum of allies. That would include the public sector workers –firefighters, nurses, teachers, garbage collectors- fighting to protect the services and infrastructure that will be our best protection against climate change…..And it would include transit riders fighting against fare increases at a time when we should be doing everything possible to make subways and buses more comfortable and affordable for all. Indeed when masses of people take to the streets to stop such fare hikes and demand free public transit –as they did in Brazil in June and July of 2013- these actions should be welcomed as part of a global effort to fight climate chaos, even if those populist movements never once use the words “climate change”.’

Naomi Klein ‘This Changes Everything’

Notes and references

See attached flyer for notes, references and sources for all statements above.

 

 

Search tag: ECO*-nomy, ECO-nomy

 

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