A Scotland-bound InterCity 125 train, run by East Coast, passes a 142 Pacer train, run by Northern, at Doncaster in May 2014. Both trains were built by British Rail but are still being operated. The IC125 was one of BR’s most successful designs, while the Pacer was a cheap and nasty design forced on BR by Mrs Thatcher’s government in the 1980s.

A campaign to bring the railways back into public ownership received national attention in The Observer today (6 July 2014).

A group of rail campaigners and union leaders signed a letter to the newspaper, one of the few in Britain not run by right-wing owners, calling for action “before it is too late”.

Their letter said: “We come from all walks of British life to say that the experiment to run the railways in private hands has failed.”

Their campaign, entitled All on Board, includes companies, environmentalists, council leaders, rail workers and experts, disability and social justice campaigners.

The campaign says the “sensible thing is to run our railways under public ownership”.

The letter adds: “This is now very easy to do. As each private rail franchise expires, it can become ours. That way, all our investment, our taxes and fares stay in the railways and we get lower fares and a better service.

“Most investment in the railways already comes from taxpayers. More people will get off the roads and on to rail and we will have cleaner air. A fragmented system, which never benefited from competition because competition is impossible on a railway track, can become whole.

“The policy comes at no additional costs to taxpayers. And it is not only green, but it's popular and it works.”

The letter was signed by Tasmin Omond of Lush, Jon Sauven of Greenpeace UK, Len McLuskey of Unite the Union, Paul Nowak of the TUC and Rosie Rogers of Compass.

It also included Christian Wolmar, Professors Danny Dorling (Oxford), Paul Salveson (Huddersfield), Ian Miles (Manchester), Diane Elson of the Women's Budget Group, Cat Hobbes of We Own It, Kat Baird of Share Action, Mick Whelan of Aslef, Manuel Cortes of TSSA, and Peter Robinson of the Campaign Against Climate Change.

Read the letter here:

More info: