Alan Williams

Despite all the press coverage and fuss in Parliament about the Northern timetable debacle and Network Rail’s role therein, few managed to identify the real reason for the unprecedented degree of ire that burst forth in virtually every newspaper in the north of England. Because this was not just a bad day on the railway. For years, local services have been frankly awful, with infrequent services often provided by no more than a rail-borne version of a 1980s Leyland bus. Then, for a decade, railways in the north suffered a Department for Transport inspired ‘no growth, no new trains’ franchise which, despite such suppression, nevertheless actually grew by more than 30%. So the old trains became even older and even more overcrowded. Enough was enough.

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