Jeremy Corbyn ramps up calls for railway renationalisation and for government to take over Southern Rail franchise

Francesca Washtell
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Southern Railway Revise Their Timetable Cutting 341 Trains Per Day
The crisis-hit Southern Rail has been singled out by Jeremy Corbyn (Source: Getty)

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will today ramp up his pledge to renationalise the UK’s railways.

At a public rally in Brighton, one of the cities worst hit by the Southern Rail crisis, Corbyn will call on the government to end the franchise and reiterate the Labour Party’s commitment to a nationalised “People’s Railway”.

“If there’s one thing that can unite this party, and indeed this city, it’s campaigning to get rid of the Southern franchise and bring the railways back into public ownership,” Corbyn will say today. “Labour will put an end to rip-off Britain.”

Read more: London travel watchdog calls for action on Southern Rail

He will also say:

Southern has cut 341 services and the government agreed to it. They should have said, “if you cut the services, we’ll cut you out”. But that would take a government that stood up for people. What is the point of a franchise agreement … if a company can walk away from their commitments at no cost?

So a Labour government will take back the franchises that expire – and any that collapse – and put them into public ownership. And for those that aren’t due to expire anytime soon … we will seeks to change the law so that failure to meet key performance targets will allow government to take back the franchise.

Last September at the Labour Party Conference, Corbyn pledged to commit the party to a "fully integrated, publicy owned railway the British people want and need".

Read more: Southern Rail guards to stage five-day strike in August 2016

At the beginning of July Southern cancelled 341 services a day in a revised timetable to respond to prolonged cancellations and delays blighting its service.

Southern passenger services director Alex Foulds said when cancelling the services: "We are introducing this temporary weekday revised timetable with reluctance but it is the best thing we can do for our passengers who have been suffering daily cancellations ever since this dispute with the RMT began, and for which we are sincerely sorry."