Seven Bristol councillors were outside the entrance of City Hall, College Green on Monday 1 July at 12 noon to show their support for a Private Members Bill to bring rail back into public ownership.
Green councillors Tess Green, Daniella Radice, Rob Telford and Gus Hoyt and Labour councillors Jenny Smith, Steve Pearce and Brenda Massey held the Friends Of Suburban Bristol Railways (FOSBR) map showing the 24 functioning stations which could provide a 30 minute, reliable local train service if it was run for passengers and not shareholders.
Rail campaigners from Transport For Greater Bristol Alliance and Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways (FOSBR) joined councillors in showing their support for Caroline Lucas MP’s Private Member’s Bill calling for the railways to be returned to public ownership.
Bristol Green Party shares the Brighton MPs anger that £1 billion a year is lost in the privatised system. Councillor Daniella Radice was dismayed to learn that confirmation of the four tracks between Filton Abbey Wood and Temple Meads Station is postponed until October.
Rob Telford, Green councillor for Ashley ward said:
“Rail takes pressure off Bristol’s roads, cutting congestion and pollution. Rail jobs are green jobs, and slowly renationalising franchises as they come up for tender is the right approach to build a better transport system for Bristol and the UK.”
The rail franchise system has cost tax payers millions of pounds. Since privatisation, our rail network has mainly been operated by multinational bus companies – First and Stagecoach – who have to make a profit for their shareholders. In Europe, most rail and bus services are public services. The East Coast Mainline, which has been run by Directly Operated Rail for the past 3 years is successful. It has made about £60 million profit each year for the Treasury which could be reinvested.