Labour campaigners brand government’s management of railways as ‘national embarrassment’ and say Portsmouth taxpayers are suffering

Labour Party campaigners with Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan, right, at Fratton Train Station
Labour Party campaigners with Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan, right, at Fratton Train Station

CAMPAIGNERS who have branded the government’s management of railway services as ‘shambolic’ visited a Portsmouth train station to talk to the commuters who were returning to work after the festive season.

Labour Party campaigners including Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan spoke to commuters at Fratton station about increasing fares, overcrowded rail services and his party’s plan for ‘a better deal for our rail’.

The campaigners want a better deal for the city’s commuters and said Portsmouth taxpayers are suffering because of bad services.

Mr Morgan, who wants to see the entire tail network back in public ownership, said: ‘The government’s shambolic mismanagement of our railways has been a national embarrassment.

‘Prices are rising, performance is in decline, promised investment has been scrapped and industrial relations have worsened.

‘Government rail policy has not delivered affordable fares, decent services or value for money for taxpayers we need to see here in Portsmouth, meaning our city’s commuters suffer.’

The idea behind public ownership is railways are run in the interests of passengers and taxpayers, not for private profit.

Labour released analysis of overcrowded rail services which the party said revealed overcrowding on our railways is at one of the highest levels since records began.

The top 10 most overcrowded peak train routes are on average 187 per cent in excess of capacity – an increase of over 25 per cent since 2011.

Mr Morgan added: ‘Passengers, our economy and our environment need affordable fares and reliable services, which Tory policy is failing to deliver. 

‘Labour would take our railway back into public ownership as franchises expire, using savings to cap fares, and would upgrade and expand the rail network.’

Andy McDonald MP, Labour’s shadow transport secretary, said making passengers pay more to travel on increasingly overcrowded trains is simply not sustainable.

He added: ‘Under the Tories, fares have risen three times faster than average wages and severe disruption has blighted the network meaning services are often delayed or cancelled.

‘It’s outrageous that passengers are being hit with yet another above-inflation fares rise following such a miserable year on the railway.

‘The government’s blind obsession with privatisation is putting the future of the railway at risk.’