Train driver lets taxi take the strain for 200 miles

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A rail company which is soon to be privatised pays a train driver to take a taxi every morning to travel 200 miles from Derby to Newcastle, Brian Wilson, Labour's Transport spokesman, told the Scottish Labour Conference yesterday.

Denouncing the "madness" of breaking up a national rail network, he said: "Under the new fragmented, competing structure, it makes sense for InterCity CrossCountry to have a driver start work in the morning in Derby, clock on, go to the nearest taxi rank, get a cab 200 miles north to Newcastle, start a train and drive it all the way back to Derby."

Under the old arrangements, British Rail would have used the "nearest available driver", but InterCity CrossCountry does not want to pay a driver from a competitor company to do the job, he said.

He added: "InterCity CrossCountry claim it will save them pounds 60,000 a year, but somebody has to pay the taxi fare, and the bottom line is that it's the taxpayer and the passenger who are paying for this whole madness."