Shadow Transport Secretary Chris Grayling acknowledged the errors of Tory rail privatisation yesterday as he called for the reintegration of train and track.

He insisted that the debate was no longer about privatisation or nationalisation, but ensuring an effective network.

However, the bid to reunite train and track is an implicit admission that it was wrong to separate them into separate businesses during John Major's privatisation of the railways in the 1990s.

Mr Grayling said "a bold new direction" was required.

He said politicians should be removed from the decisionmaking process, telling party supporters: "I want rail professionals running our railways.

"It is time Whitehall stopped playing the fat controller."