Union chiefs have slammed the Government for backtracking on plans to scrap ‘cattle truck’ Pacer trains which operate across the North West.
The trains, some of them 30 years old, were set to be replaced as part of a new frachnise agreement for local lines set to be
introduced in 2016.
But the Department for Transport has now said the Pacers could be “modernised” instead, to keep them running.
In a Commons debate earlier this year, then-rail minister Stephen Hammond had said: “We expect to ask bidders for the Northern franchise to put forward proposals for the removal of Pacers from the area.” The news comes after it was revealed most rail fares across the country will rise in January.
Mick Cash, acting General Secretary of the RMT rail union, said the decision was another reason to back its campaign to nationalise the railways.
He said: “The ditching of the pledge to replace the Pacers as part of the new Northern Franchise shows clearly, that despite all the rhetoric from George Osborne, this Government are waging all-out war on rail passengers in the North.
“Taken alongside the abolition of off-peak fares, the axing of guards and the assault on services and ticket offices, there can be no other explanation.
“Politicians across the North need to recognise that if they don’t oppose the plans to rip apart rail services in the region in the name of profit then they will be called to account by an electorate that RMT will ensure is fully aware of the issues.
“The only solution to this racketeering on our railway tracks is public ownership and the return of our railways to the people on the basis that they are run as a public service and not as a get-rich-quick scheme for greedy private train companies.”