Simon Danczuk MP

Fighting for Rochdale, Littleborough and Milnrow

Letter from Parliament 2 October

IF anyone heading to the Labour Party Conference was unsure about the case for re-nationalising the railways, then the journey between London and Brighton will have gone a long way towards changing their minds.

As the delayed and jam packed train wound it's way slowly through the Sussex countryside, I had plenty of time to reflect on how this country could do better.

We used to lead the world in rail travel, but after decades of neglect we have fallen well behind other countries and the state of our rolling stock and rail infrastructure is a national disgrace. In Rochdale, we only need to look at the faulty level crossing at Smithy Bridge for an example of how budget cuts to Network Rail have come at the cost of quality and safety.

Commuter trains in the North West are among the busiest in the country but while fares rise every year, the quality of service continues to decline.

We need to start thinking of commuter trains as a public service rather than an opportunity to squeeze hard working people for as much profit as possible.

Rail travel, when it's done right, is faster, more comfortable and a greener alternative to driving.

HS2 is a positive step but this needs to be accompanied by investment in rail links for smaller towns to make sure places like Rochdale are not left out.

The Government needs to invest in skills and support manufacturing so that British companies can build a new rail infrastructure and the trains and carriages that go with it.

Rather than looking to China or Germany, UK firms should be given the chance to get the country's rail network back on track.

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