Sheffield rail passengers ‘to be used as cash-cow’ for European operators, claim campaigners

action at Sheffield Station
action at Sheffield Station
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Sheffield railway passengers have been warned they will be used as a ‘cash-cow’ to fund improvements to train services in Europe.

Members of the RMT union spoke with passengers outside the station on Tuesday morning.

They are concerned about changes to the ownership of the Transpennine Express and Northern Rail franchises, which they say will lead to job cuts and higher train fares for passengers.

In an open letter to politicians, RMT general secretary Mick Cash said the three short-listed bidders for the Northern Rail franchise are owned by Dutch, French and German state railways.

He said northern rail passengers in England will be used as a ‘cash-cow’ to pay for rail improvements to take place in Europe rather than the UK.

Mr Cash said: “Jobs, services and safety across the North are threatened with the cash saved used to hold down fares and expand services in other parts of Europe.

“No politician of any party will be allowed by RMT to dodge the issue of public ownership as the election approaches.”

Sheffield was one of 12 railway stations across the North where protests took place.

Bidders for the TransPennine Express franchise have until May 28 to submit their final proposals, with the Northern deadline falling on June 26.

The new operators will be in place from next year.

The Department for Transport has said its requirements for the franchise operator mean there will be ‘more seats, more services and a brand new fleet of modern trains’ for passengers in the north.