West Coast Failure Shows Dangers to Come, Warns RMT

9 February 2010 (Last Updated February 9th, 2010 18:30)

UK rail union RMT has again warned the government against Network Rail's planned 1,500 job cuts, following the recent West Coast Mainline failure which it says was worsened due to lack of maintenance staff. A power failure on the line last week between Lancaster and Preston stopped the

UK rail union RMT has again warned the government against Network Rail's planned 1,500 job cuts, following the recent West Coast Mainline failure which it says was worsened due to lack of maintenance staff.

A power failure on the line last week between Lancaster and Preston stopped the service for half a day delaying thousands of passengers.

According to the RMT, the latest overhead line failure at Berkhamsted is the third in just three months and represents the shape of things to come if Network Rail goes ahead with its planned cuts.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said he has learnt that there were just three people on duty at the depot that covers Berkhamsted, and that the chaos was worsened by delays in getting skilled staff out to sort the problem.

"This is exactly the sort of chaos we have warned will be caused regularly if Network Rail goes ahead with its cash-driven cuts policy, and it must be stopped," Crow said.

"Despite the £9bn ($12.3bn) upgrade to the West Coast line there are still clearly major problems, yet Network Rail is aiming nearly half of its proposed job cuts at the route."