“The train will need to be taking more of the strain if we’re going to be decarbonising transport and avoiding as much private vehicle use as possible,” he continued.
The cuts are “part of a vital set of reforms” for the railway to recover from the pandemic and respond to changing travel patterns, the RDG said.
“We must adapt, and we cannot take more than our fair share from the taxpayer,” said chair Steve Montgomery.
The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) slammed the job cuts, which come weeks ahead of Glasgow’s global climate event COP26.
“Frankly, it’s ludicrous that with COP26 just round the corner, the Conservatives are looking to cut thousands of rail jobs which will mean that services on our railways will not be returning to their pre-pandemic levels,” said TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes.
“No amount of empty rhetoric by Johnson during COP26 will mask the fact that the Tories are just not at all serious about saving our planet.”
World leaders will be headed to Glasgow this November when COP26 takes place, with world leaders and climate experts gathering to put their heads together on the urgent climate crisis.
A special “climate train” will bring 500 environmental activists and representatives of the railways to Glasgow for the event as part of a campaign encouraging people to travel by train to the event.
Despite RDG claiming the move is part of an agreement between rail companies and trades unions signed earlier this year, TSSA says none of the unions have agreed to it.
The Campaign for Better Transport has called for domestic plane travel to be banned and passengers encouraged to take a train instead. Trains emit one sixth of the CO2 of planes per passenger mile.
Boris Johnson was widely mocked for flying from London to Cornwall for the UK’s most recent climate summit, the G7.
Less than six months ago the government announced plans to integrate the railways into a single brand that will deliver “passenger-focused travel with simpler, modern fares and reliable services,” according to the government website.
The reforms, claimed to be the biggest the rail industry has seen in 25 years, include the creation of a new public body Great British Railways that will give the general public a “familiar brand with united, accountable leadership.”