THE CONTEXT is critical to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling’s “very strong and personal commitment” to improving Bradford’s rail links with the rest of the region.
This is not entirely new. Mr Grayling made similar utterances to Leeds Chamber of Commerce in January last year. However, given the lack of public trust in Mr Grayling, it is, at the very least, noteworthy that he’s not forgotten his promise to Bradford – and The Yorkshire Post is happy to place his comments on the record.
However words alone will not suffice. The Transport Secretary – and his successors – should be judged by their actions. And, in this regard, this a Government that not only over-promises and under-delivers when it comes to rail policy but which remains bereft of credibility following this year’s timetable turmoil and the human impact of so much disruption on so many families and businesses.
Yet the one positive consequence of Mr Grayling’s mishandling of so many rail promises, and abject failure to accept any responsibility for his department’s failings, is that he’s galvanised the North’s political, business and civic leaders. They now speak with one voice as they push for Transport for the North to be given the policy – and financial – powers that it needs if rail services here, and specifically links between the region’s great cities, are to finally become comparable to the standard of services long taken for granted in London and the Home Counties. And, for Mr Grayling’s benefit, this pressure will only intensify until the Government finally gets services in cities like Bradford back on track after decades of neglect.