Devolution has been stunningly successful for the rail industry. When I first worked in the old Birmingham division of British Rail, electrification of the West Coast main line had recently been completed, and the main London service was concentrated on New Street. Snow Hill was, briefly, the largest unstaffed halt in the world, with a handful of single-car peak-only services on the old Great Western route to Wolverhampton. The service was withdrawn a year or so later, even though its stations were much better sited than the stops on the New Street – Wolverhampton High Level route. The Passenger Transport Executives (PTEs) were in their infancy and were too busy directly running bus services to think about developing the rail network.
By Chris StokesBetween the Lines