LIBERAL Democrats in Blaydon have called on the Government to keep the East Coast train operating company in public hands for the next five years rather than rush to privatise the service.
East Coast, the new public company set up to take over from failed National Express, began running the train services between London and the North East in November. But the Government has indicated the company will be put into private hands within two years.
Neil Bradbury, prospective MP for Blaydon, has warned that rail travellers and staff need stability.
“In the past two years three different operators have run the East Coast trains,” said Neil. “What is now needed is a period of stability. Ministers should not rush to get this route back into the private sector.
“East Coast should remain as a publicly owned operator for at least five years to ensure continuity of service and to let the route settle down after two years of upheaval and changes in operator.
“My fear is however that Labour want to privatise the service so that the huge charge on operators they imposed to run the service can fill Treasury coffers.”