'Plans Will See Rail Fares Go Through The Roof'
More than 100 MPs have signed a Commons motion criticising the Government's proposals for the future of railways, warning of worsening services, higher fares and job cuts.
An Early Day Motion (EDM) tabled by Labour MP John McDonnell is attracting cross-party support in the UK.
It comes amid fresh anger at the amount of investment being made in the railways, while fares "go through the roof".
The EDM warns that the Government's plans "will worsen passenger services through the loss of thousands of frontline workers from trains, stations, ticket offices, safety-critical infrastructure and operational roles", and "will result in higher fares, cuts in services and more crowded trains".
The MPs who have signed the EDM have urged the Government to run the railway as a "public service" with "affordable fares and proper staffing levels".
Research by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) said that while fare prices were rising, investment by train operating companies in the railway network has been halved over the last five years.
There has been an 80% reduction in investment in stations, while there has been over twice as much spent on back office functions such as IT and web costs, said the TUC.
There has also been a 15% reduction in private investment in new rolling stock and a 100% reduction in funds spent on track and signals, it was claimed.
Bob Crow, leader of the Rail Maritime and Transport union said: "This Government has learnt nothing from the tragedies of the past and is allowing the profiteers to bleed the railways of desperately-needed investment while creating the perfect conditions for another Hatfield or Potters Bar.
"It is a national disgrace."
Rail minister Theresa Villiers said: "Our plans are to reduce the cost of running the railway by £3.5bn per annum by 2019.
"If we can do this, we can reduce the burden on taxpayers, and put an end to the era of above-inflation increases in average regulated fares.
"The plans place the passenger at the heart of everything the rail network is about."
A spokesman for the Association of Train Operating Companies said: "Train companies are pressing for reform that aims to help limit future fare rises by reducing the costs of running the railways, while making sure that we can keep on improving services for passengers.
"The way the industry is set up has too often driven up cost and made it difficult for operators to respond quickly and effectively to what passengers want.
"The reform agenda is about bringing the different parts of the railway closer together to provide a better deal for passengers and taxpayers."