SO much about the Government’s claim that it understands the frustration of rail users in the North.
On the very day that a new timetable was introduced and left many commuters facing the same delays that have become all too familiar, the latest Brexit turmoil was the perfect cover for an official announcement that Crossrail is likely to require a bailout of up to £2bn to ensure London’s supposedly state of-the-art railway is finally completed.
Even though it has already cost £14.8bn, its scheduled opening this month has already been postponed – and Transport for London cannot even commit to the scheme being completed by the Autumn of next year. Yet, while the bailout will come in the form of a Department for Transport loan which will then be paid back by businesses in the capital through a levy scheme presided over by the Mayor of London, it makes a mockery of Transport Secretary Chris Grayling’s continued advocacy of a second Crossrail scheme when passengers in the North are having to contend with the worst services in the country.
After so many snubs to the North, Mr Grayling should be confirming – categorically – that no more public money set aside for either of London’s Crossrail schemes until rail links here begin to meet the public’s expectations and the region’s economic aspirations.