Yet the problem, as Mr Williams is discovering, is that none of this is new. His ideas are common sense solutions which a succession of Transport Secretaries, train operators and railway leaders have failed to implement.
Time will tell if his report – and final recommendations – are embraced, and enacted, by the next government. A sensible Prime Minister would commit to implementing the findings in full, especially given the scale of disquiet in the North.
But Mr Williams did touch on an important point when he met Northern Powerhouse leaders in Bradford. There needs to be much clearer accountability in the future. From Chris Grayling, the inept ‘don’t blame me’ Transport Secretary, to train firms making it deliberately hard for passengers to seek recompense for disruption and Network Rail ignoring major sporting and cultural events when choosing to shut the East Coast Main Line, the buck-passing must stop in whatever new structure he decides.