Splitting responsibility for trains and tracks when privatising the railways was a 'fundamental error' and the link must be restored, the Conservatives will say today in a major shift in policy.
Alan Francis, Green Party Transport Spokesperson commented: "We welcome David Cameron's admission that the Tory privatisation of the railways was a mistake. However he seems to be suggesting that they should repeat it by once again selling or leasing the publicly owned track to the privately owned train operating companies. Will his successor as Tory leader by issueing another apology for that in 10 years time? (1)
"Over £10bn of public money has been wasted because of the disastrous Tory privatisation of the railways. That money could have been used to buy more trains - to reduce overcrowding, to open more lines and stations - to make rail travel accessible to more people, and to keep down fares - to make rail travel more affordable. Instead it has ended up in the pockets of directors and shareholders in the private companies. What is David Cameron going to do about correcting that? An apology does not make the problem disappear.
"The Green Party believes that the rail system, including track and operators, needs to be publicly owned, and would seek to bring the service back into public ownership. The division of rail and track companies into a competitive rather than a cooperative organisation, and the fragmentation of the rail industry into 100 companies by privatisation, has been disastrous for safety and reliability and the provision of an integrated service. "