IT should not have taken a public outcry in this newspaper for Network Rail to accept criticism over its mishandling of the forthcoming closure of the East Coast Main Line.
Rail chiefs should have known that the decision, taken as long ago as February 14, would cause immense inconvenience to tens of thousands of spectators attending major global and cultural events over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
They should not have left it so late to start briefing MPs and others. And there should have been far more clarity, from the outset, about the availability of trains on other routes – notably the Sheffield to St Pancras line.
One reason is the revelation that the East Coast Supervisory Board – set up in August 2017 under the chairmanship of the then Welcome To Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity – has not met for eight months.
Given its very remit was to improve communication between Network Rail, train operators and the business community, and that Welcome To Yorkshire says that it only found out about the line closure when contacted by officials from York Racecourse last month, this failure needs to be addressed straight away.
For, while engineering work will always be disruptive to a degree, its impact can be mitigated against if the railway industry works in partnership with business leaders and passenger groups. And given the number of rail users and experts who have come forward to register their interest in serving on such a body, Network Rail should recruit them to a new-look Supervisory Board – they could not do a worse job.