A trade union has urged Andy Burnham to back full re-nationalisation of the country's railways as the Labour leadership hopeful said he wanted to "work to bring the railways back under public control and public ownership".
Transport union TSSA has told the Huffington Post UK that his vow to return the network to state control on a "line by line" basis would be "costly and unnecessary".
The Shadow Health Secretary has said public sector operators would be able to bid for regional franchises when each contract expires, and he will highlight the success of the East Coast main line, which was publicly run for six years after National Express defaulted on its deal.
However, there would be no guarantee a state-backed bid would succeed and many of the franchises are unlikely to be for grabs again until the end of the next decade. The policy also echoes what was promised by Ed Miliband at the general election.
Time to tell it as it is: rail privatisation just hasn't worked. As Labour Leader, I will pursue a policy of progressive re-nationalisation.— Andy Burnham (@andyburnhammp) August 4, 2015
Many will see the move as an attempt to regain ground on his Labour leadership rival Jeremy Corbyn, who has already announced he would re-nationalise the railways.
But SSA's leader Manuel Cortes signalled to HuffPost UK re-nationalisation via a bidding process was the wring way to go.
He said: "We are extremely pleased that the future of our railways is being discussed as part of Labour's leadership election.
"Jeremy has pledged to bring our railways back into public ownership and Andy has now announced their 'progressive renationalisation' . However, it appears that Andy wants to leave some kind of bidding process in place. This is costly and unnecessary.
"Andy should follow Scottish Labour's example. They are campaigning extremely hard to stop the SNP bidding process which is likely to see the lifeline CalMac ferry services privatised.
"Passengers are sick to their back teeth of private rail companies making profits at their expense. A no ifs, no buts pledge to bring our railways back into public ownership is a clear vote winner."
I will adopt a plan from Shadow Transport Secretary @MichaelDugher for National Rail - a body bringing our fragmented railway back together.— Andy Burnham (@andyburnhammp) August 4, 2015
“@Mike_J_Cox: Great news Andy, just one thing, how will you fund nationalisation ?” > Will wait for franchises to expire then let public bid— Andy Burnham (@andyburnhammp) August 4, 2015
The Shadow Health Secretary will say in his manifesto, due to come out on Thursday: "We need a new approach to our railways, one that puts passengers before profit. That's why I will work to bring the railways back under public control and public ownership."