Washington and Sunderland MP blasts East Coast rail sell off

Sharon Hodgson MP
Sharon Hodgson MP
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A WEARSIDE MP has blasted the Government’s handling of the East Coast Main Line privatisation.

During a debate on the future of the service, Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson raised fears that new service standards will see the proportion of trains East Coast is permitted to cancel or run more than two hours late set at almost double the standard expected on other routes. Mrs Hodgson, who has been campaigning against reprivatisation, called on Rail Minister Stephen Hammond to halt the process, or at least allow Directly Operated Rail, the company currently running the line, to bid to retain the franchise.

He refused both requests.

“Ministers are clamouring to privatise East Coast, spending millions of taxpayers’ money bringing forward the tendering process, despite all the evidence showing both passengers and the Treasury are getting a very good deal out of public ownership,” said Mrs Hodgson.

“Now it looks like the expectations on the new operators will be much lower. If more and more trains are allowed to be cancelled or delayed, my constituents will just switch to cars – jamming up the major roads and increasing carbon emissions.”