Southern Rail, photo Hugh Llewelyn/CC

Southern Rail, photo Hugh Llewelyn/CC   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

James Ivens

Queues on platforms, scuffles to squeeze aboard, delays and cancellations as the life sweats out of you. Is this what we’re paying for with the 3.1% rail fare hike from 2 January?

Average wages only rose by 2.6% last year, which didn’t even keep pace with inflation. Meanwhile, venal bosses moved against safety-critical train guards, forcing transport union RMT to strike.

“98p from every £1 spent on fares goes into running the railway with fares covering day-to-day costs” says privateers’ alliance the Rail Delivery Group, with “government investment effectively funding infrastructure improvements.”

Why should shrink-wrapped commuters and striking rail workers believe a word of this? These people are bandits! Are we to understand they are running the railways for no gain?

But imagine bosses are spending 98% of our tickets on running costs. Why is the price always rising as the service declines? Answer: state subsidy, supposedly for infrastructure, is really for shareholders’ profits.

Even if they do spend most of that on infrastructure – it’s not working, is it? And no surprise. One public rail network, with 23 vampires scrabbling to monopolise its arteries and drink them dry.

The solution is obvious. Nationalisation and full funding.

And not as life support for the old bosses or a fresh breed of distant bureaucrats. Instead, nationalisation under the democratic control of rail workers and passengers, along with public transit and the top corporations, as part of a socialist plan for transport.