A Labour government would renationalise the railways, shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh has declared.
She said putting the network in the hands of private companies had been a “failed experiment”.
Passengers had been let down by years of poor performance while company bosses have lined their pockets with millions of pounds of public money, Haigh said.
“Under the Conservatives, British railways have become a cash machine for companies and foreign governments,” she told Labour’s annual conference in Liverpool.
“No matter the performance, failure will always be rewarded. The truth is, the Conservatives still worship the dogma that has let this country down.
“They will always give the operators one more chance and shareholders one more pay-day. They will do whatever it takes to prop up a failed system because to do anything else would be to admit their ideology is wrong. ”
With more rail strikes set to hit commuters later this month, Haigh said the government was more interested in attacking workers than demanding operators improve the service they provide.
Haigh said that if they win the next election, Labour “will put the public back in control of the essential public transport they depend upon”.
“The days of tinkering around the edges of a system that has so clearly failed the public are over,” she said.
That’s why an incoming Labour government will end this farce. We will end this failed experiment. We will cast aside the tired dogma that has failed passengers. We will improve services and lower fares.
“And yes conference, Labour in power will bring our railways back into public ownership as contracts expire, because we believe in a public transport system where power is in the hands of the public. ”
Next week’s Tory conference in Birmingham is set to be plunged into chaos by a walkout by train drivers at 12 rail companies.
The industrial action will take place the day before the gathering, on October 1, and then again on the conference’s last day, October 5.