Stephenson’s Rocket legacy is betrayed – The Yorkshire Post says

ANDREW Stephenson, the bombastic Rail Minister, is clearly not a descendant of the 19th century steam locomotive pioneer Robert Stephenson, an engineer who genuinely understood the potential of the railways.

If he was, the Tory politician would not have said, with typical tactlessness, that the North needs to move away from “big fancy plans” to delivering benefits to passengers.

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There’s nothing “fancy” – for the benefit of the Minister – about Northern Powerhouse Rail or the eastern leg of HS2, two high-profile schemes scandalously cancelled (just like the trains here) in the new Integrated Rail Plan.

Andrew Stephenson MP is the Rail Minister.Andrew Stephenson MP is the Rail Minister.
Andrew Stephenson MP is the Rail Minister.

Their objective – and Mr Stephenson stood on this policy platform at the last election two years ago – was to ensure the North’s 15 million residents have the type of public transport enjoyed by London and the South East in order to spread prosperity and enhance social mobility.

It’s also about increasing capacity on the network so more trains – both passenger and freight – can run in the future and not be beset by the reliability issues highlighted yesterday by Tracy Brabin, the mayor of West Yorkshire, when her journey was disrupted.

But what makes Mr Stephenson’s remarks so disingenuous, in a week when it emerged that some rail services in Bradford are slower now than in the early 1900s, is that the DfT declines to specify how many extra trains will be able to run each hour on each local line across the North as a result of its decision not to proceed with NPR or HS2 in full. If he’s so certain that he is on the right track, perhaps he’d care to publish the relevant details for further scrutiny.

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