“Funeral” for the last East Coast train from Arbroath to Montrose

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A “funeral” was held as the last East Coast train departed for Montrose from Arbroath to mark the “death” of publicly owned railways.

Members of Radical Independence (Angus and Mearns) protested at Montrose Railway Station to highlight the need for a “publicly owned and accountable rail network”.

The group leafleted Montrose Station on Friday with a banner, as well as leafleting the railway station in Arbroath on Saturday (February 28).

Saturday was the last day of the East Coast rail franchise and after noon, as the last East Coast train departed from Arbroath heading for Montrose, the group had a ceremony with a “coffin” and “pall bearers” representing the “death of publicly owned and accountable rail services”.

The East Coast train route between London and Scotland returned to private hands after more than five years in the public sector.

Services on the line had been operated by a Department for Transport (DfT) controlled company since November 2009, but Inter City Railways Ltd (ICRL), a subsidiary jointly owned by Stagecoach and Virgin Trains, took over the East Coast franchise.

From Sunday the route is now being jointly run by Virgin and Stagecoach, under the name Virgin Trains East Coast, who have promised to invest £140m in the route over eight years and will pay the Government £3.3bn for the contract,

Friday (February 27), was the day Caroline Lucas’ bill to re-nationalise the railways was debated at Westminster.

Amongst those taking part in the Angus demonstrations was Radical Independence member Rev. David Mumford, Green Party Westminster candidate for the Angus constituency.