Union aims to deliver clear message on Yorkshire rail deal plan

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A union is ready to deliver nearly 5,000 postcards to the Department for Transport to highlight its opposition to plans that could set the future course of rail travel in Yorkshire.

The cards have been collected from members of the public attending dozens of events organised by the RMT during a Government consultation exercise on proposals for new northern and transpennine rail franchises.

The exercise – which transport campaigners say lacks ambition – ends on Monday, the day of the mass postcard delivery.

RMT acting general secretary Mick Cash today claimed the proposals were being “bulldozed” through under the cover of a “wholly bogus” consultation.

He went on: “If RMT officials and activists hadn’t organised almost 50 events and a major press campaign, the vast majority of people would have known nothing of this huge rail carve-up.”

Covering the bulk of rail services in Yorkshire, the two new franchises are due to start in early 2016.

Views given during the consultation exercise will be made available to private companies bidding for the deals.

But the RMT claims the DfT and its associates have staged only five ‘listening’ events during the exercise.

Concerns have also been expressed over a Government document which says increased fares and ticket office closures could be the price passengers have to pay for better services.

DfT rail franchising director Peter Wilkinson has defended the consultation exercise, saying the Government is asking “honest questions” about the future of train services in the North and how improvements can be funded.

News of the postcard protest comes after the RMT hit out at existing franchise holder Northern Rail’s announcement of restrictions on the use of cheaper tickets in West Yorkshire.

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