PROTESTS against rail fare increases were held by Stroud Labour Party outside several train stations in the Five Valleys on Tuesday (August 19).

The demonstrations by Labour activists at railway stations in Stroud, Stonehouse and Cam, saw calls for the rail network to be re-nationalised.

Members of Stroud Labour Party organised the protests to coincide with a national day of action to highlight increases in rail fares for passengers.

On Tuesday, it was announced that regulated rail fares would go up by 3.5 per cent from January next year following the release of July’s inflation figures.

Former MP and Labour’s parliamentary candidate David Drew, who took part in the Stroud protest, said: “A publicly owned railway would provide a far better deal for passengers and taxpayers.”

“You only have to look at the success of the publicly owned East Coast Main Line which put £16 million back into the Treasury in just one year after private owners backed out of running it and the Government took it back into public ownership.

“For the Coalition to re-privatise this service is complete madness.”

However Stroud’s Tory MP Neil Carmichael hit back at Labour, branding re-nationalisation ‘a blast from the past’ and insisting that there had been more investment in the railway network since privatisation.

“The railways are carrying more passengers than they ever have before and it is ironic that they are calling for re-nationalisation when we are just about to complete the redoubling of the Swindon to Kemble railway line which I was personally able to secure in the 2011 budget,” he said.

“Labour is trying to turn back the clock back. Very little investment was ever made in the network when it was publicly owned. It is only after privatisation that we have seen all of the investment and we will see even more.”