Labour Says It Will Renationalise The Railways Within Five Years Of Winning Power

The pledge will form a central part of the party's election manifesto.
Avanti West Coast is one of the companies which will be brought back into public ownership under Labour's plans.
Avanti West Coast is one of the companies which will be brought back into public ownership under Labour's plans.
Nathan Stirk via Getty Images

Labour will renationalise the railways within five years of coming to power if it wins the general election.

Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh will unveil the plan today as part of a pledge to “get Britain moving”.

Under the plan, train companies would be brought back into public ownership and run by a new body, Great British Railways, as their privatised contracts expire.

Haigh said: “Labour will deliver the biggest overhaul to our railways in a generation. Whilst the Conservatives are content to let Britain’s broken railways fail passengers, Labour will deliver root and branch reform.

“With Labour’s bold reforms, a publicly-owned railway will be single-mindedly focused on delivering for passengers and will be held to account on delivering reliable, safe, efficient, accessible, affordable and quality services.”

Labour would also introduce a “best price ticket guarantee” for passengers, with rail users being automatically refunded if their trains are delayed.

A new watchdog, the Passenger Standards Authority, would also be set up to hold Great British Railways to account.

Ditching the current franchised network would also save billions of pounds by eliminating “fragmentation, waste and bureaucracy”, Labour claims, with the money ploughed back into frontline services.

Haigh said: “After years of dysfunction and waste our broken railways are unfit to meet the needs of modern Britain. Passengers and taxpayers alike are being failed, and our economy is being held back. Doing nothing is simply not an option.

“Labour’s detailed plans will get our railways back on track; driving up standards for passengers, bringing down costs for taxpayers, driving growth and getting Britain moving.

But rail minister Huw Merriman said: “Labour have confirmed they would push forward with their pointless, unfunded rail nationalisation that will do nothing to improve train reliability or affordability for passengers.”


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