MP calls for rail to be nationalised while on delayed train – despite operator already being publicly owned

LNER has been in public ownership since 2018  (AFP/Getty)
LNER has been in public ownership since 2018 (AFP/Getty)

An MP whose train journey was delayed for hours called for the railways to be nationalised - only for it to be pointed out that the service she was using was already in public ownership.

Zarah Sultana, the Labour MP for Coventry South, said she missed out on a rally in Leeds on Tuesday (20 September) because her journey on an LNER (London North Eastern Railway) train was severely disrupted.

Rallies are being held across the country this week in a campaign against the cost-of-living crisis.

Ms Sultana tweeted just before 8pm, with a sad-face selfie: “My train to Leeds for tonight’s Enough is Enough rally has been stopped just outside London for the last three hours. I’m sorry not to be there, Leeds!

“Just another reminder that we need to bring rail into public ownership and make it fit for the future!”

Although some social media users agreed with the general principle of renationalising all rail companies, many others – including LNER – stated that the service she was using is already in public control.

Cameron, a customer service representative for LNER, tweeted: “I am sorry for the delay, Zarah. This was due to damage to the overhead electric wires meaning services could not move around Stevenage, but services are now on the move.

“On your other point, LNER is owned by the DfT (Department for Transport) after the franchise was handed back in 2018.”

He continued: “You will be able to claim for delay repay compensation up to the cost of your ticket if you were delayed by 30 minutes or more.

“If there is anything we can to help, please do get in touch.”

The Independent has contacted Ms Sultana’s office for comment.

Network Rail is a publicly-owned body which oversees British railway infrastructure including tracks, signals, overhead wires, tunnels, bridges, level crossings and most stations.

The delay to Ms Sultana’s train was caused by overhead power lines in Hertfordshire, which were damaged when a man was seriously injured in an incident on a bridge in Broadhall Way in Stevenage.

Officers were called out to the bridge, which crosses over the main railway line, at about 4.40pm on Tuesday.

Police said the man had been airlifted to a hospital in Cambridge and Network Rail had assessed the track for damage.

Train services run by Grand Central, Great Northern, Hull Trains, LNER, Lumo, and Thameslink were all affected.