RMT stages Waterloo protest over South Western changes
The RMT is protesting at London Waterloo station today as the union steps up its campaign opposing proposed service reductions on South Western Railway. Other operators are also considering trimming their timetables, including ScotRail and LNER. RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: 'We’re launching this campaign to send a clear message to private train operators and the Government that RMT will simply not accept any cuts to services and attacks on jobs and pay on the railway. It's bizarre in the extreme that the company are trying to spin their savage cuts as somehow improving their services. No one will fall for this nonsense. It wasn’t long ago that the Government promised they were going to "reverse the Beeching cuts" but with these proposals they are trashing that promise and instead preparing to unleash Beeching two on our railways. These cuts to services are regressive, short-sighted and embarrassing for the government. In the year that the UK hosts vital climate talks at COP26 cutting rail services is sending a terrible message that public transport is expendable and not an essential part of the solution to the climate crisis.'
SWR is running a consultation about its December 2022 timetable. The company said: 'Since March 2020, we have been supported by the Government to run a reduced service that has kept key workers moving. This period has shown that our performance improves significantly when we are able to run fewer trains while still meeting demand. Even though passengers are now returning to the railways, all the forecasts suggest they will not return to pre-Covid levels for the foreseeable future. The December 2022 timetable is our opportunity to plan for a long-term timetable that will retain the reliability improvements we’ve made, meet the forecast demand and provide value for the taxpayer while balancing other local and national priorities.'
HS2 celebrates employment 'landmark' ahead of Parliamentary debate
HS2 Ltd says that according to its latest figures over 20,000 people are now working on the high speed project, one year since the Prime Minister announced the formal start of construction on Phase One between London and the West Midlands. HS2 Ltd said its statistics demonstrated 'the crucial role that HS2 is playing in the UK’s economic recovery, with work having continued throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Companies right across the country are now forming part of HS2’s ever growing supply chain. Contracts have already been awarded to over 2,200 businesses, 97 per cent of which are UK-based. A further £25 billion-worth of opportunities are expected to flow out into the wider supply chain over the coming year.' The 'landmark' announcement has come against a background of continuing calls for the project to be abandoned, and Parliament is due to debate a petition this evening calling for work on the line to stop. The petition has attracted more than 155,000 signatures, and also calls for a new Parliamentary vote on repealing the law authorising Phase 1.