TSSA calls for halt to Abellio East Midlands Trains takeover

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Union TSSA has called on Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to call a halt to Abellio’’s takeover of East Midlands Trains until the Williams Review publishes its report.

The call comes as Abellio prepare to start running the rail company in less than a week.

TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes said: “Keith Williams promised us a ‘root and branch’ review of Britain’s railways, yet for the Conservatives as far as East Midlands Trains is concerned it’s ‘business as usual’. They’re handing over the keys to a multi-milion pound franchise just a few months before the Williams review is due to report.

“Abellio have a track record of doing well out of UK rail contracts – their own reports boasted that they made £1billion pounds from UK contracts last year. But with Williams himself admitting that the franchise system isn’t working, now’s the time for us to start taking our railways back in-house and reinvesting the profits in our own railways.

“Transport Secretary Shapp showed his mettle when he cancelled the Southeastern franchise process last week. Now’s the time for him to go one step further and call a halt on Abellio taking over East Midlands Trains until we know what recommendations Williams is making.”

Abellio is believed to dispute TSSA’s £1bn figure.

A spokesperson for Abellio said: “We look forward to this franchise driving economic growth and delivering significant benefits for passengers. Abellio will invest £600m in improvements to trains and stations, maximising the effect of the Government’s £1.5bn upgrade of the Midland Main Line, to make journeys easier, more reliable and comfortable for our passengers.”