After Boris Johnson’s eye-catching pledges about revitalising the Northern Powerhouse concept at the weekend, the importance of him delivering on his promises has been underlined once more.
The new Prime Minister pledged on Saturday to “turbo-charge” the North with policies prioritising the funding of a high-speed rail link between Leeds and Manchester.
Yorkshire's six months of rail chaos exposed
But today it is revealed that train services in Leeds run by Trans-Pennine Express are frequently full beyond capacity to the extent its services in the city are the most crowded in northern England, while fellow operator Northern is having to turn away dozens of passengers each day because its trains are so packed.
It is yet another example of why this newspaper and others launched the Power Up The North campaign in June demanding that national leaders help unlock this region’s undoubted potential after years of neglect from the powers-that-be in Westminster.
Mr Johnson’s response since becoming Prime Minister last week shows the campaign has undoubtedly put the issue squarely on the political agenda. But it is clear more needs to be done.
Boris Johnson promises to 'turbo-charge the North' with new rail link
Local political and business leaders were also right to point out to Mr Johnson that a high-speed rail network must properly connect the whole of the region and not just Manchester and Leeds.
He has also been challenged to commit to devolution deals for Yorkshire, while a new report by think-tank IPPR North published today is calling for the development of a Northern Industrial Strategy and the eventual creation of a ‘Council of the North’ allowing regional leaders to work together when required on issues like transport and trade and investment.
As our overcrowded and creaking trains show, for now the gap between promising political rhetoric and current realities in this region remains pronounced.