Letter: Entitlements for railway staff

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The Independent Online
Sir: I find it surprising that Railtrack's new arrangements for travel by rail while on duty should lead to the conclusion that railway staff will lose their existing entitlements to concessionary travel for leisure and travel-to-work purposes.

The opposite is the case. The Government promised during the passage of the railway privatisation legislation that concessionary staff travel, an entitlement provided through contracts of employment, would be safeguarded. That commitment has been met. Arrangements are in place for those staff employed prior to 1 April 1996, together with dependants and retired staff, to continue to use their entitlements.

In general, however, railway staff will no longer be able to use their concessionary travel documentation for duty travel. In future, employers will need to purchase tickets or some other form of authority for travel on duty.

John Watts

Minister for Railways

and Roads

Department of Transport

London, SW1