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East London Line plans threatening safety, warns union

The National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers (RMT) today slammed Transport for London (TfL) for 'drifting blindly into dangerous fragmentation of its London Rail franchise'.
RMT claims that the planned privatisation of extended East London Line operations and a 'frighteningly complex hybrid' of Tube and rail networks will lead to an inevitable undermining of safety across the proposed 'London Rail' franchise.'We asked London Underground and Network Rail exactly who would be responsible for operations and infrastructure on the East London Line and London Rail franchise after the planned privatisation, and the answers are simply frightening,' said RMT general secretary Bob Crow.'At least eight components will be involved in running the new service - two responsible for signalling, two for infrastructure maintenance, two for infrastructure renewals, one for train and station operations and one for train maintenance,' Crow said'It seems that precious few lessons have been learned from the nightmare fragmentation of national rail privatisation or the disastrous part-privatisation of Tube infrastructure, because the same dangerous formula is being lined up for London Rail.'It is not too late to step back from a grave mistake and keep the East London Line's operations as a unified part of the Tube network.'We are urging commuters to join the campaign and tell TfL to keep the East London Line public,' he added.A TfL spokesman said: 'Unlike other railways, the new system will be under effective public control. A large scale investment programme of £1.4bn is planned to rescue trains and stations from their present state which often makes passengers feel unsafe and unsure of the reliability of services.'Improvements will include safer trains and stations, better staffing levels and more frequent services, plus CCTV and emergency help points across the network. 'This scheme will bring great benefits to some of the most deprived parts of London. It will link areas like Hackney to the Underground and bring big improvements on routes like the North London Line. Passengers will benefits from better, safer services. Staff will see a substantial increase in jobs. 'For the RMT's leadership to launch a campaign against these improvements for passengers and staff alike shows a wrong judgement about priorities for their members and the public.'

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