EVEN though Theresa May did manage to utter the rarely-heard words ‘Northern Powerhouse’ at Prime Minister’s Questions, her observation about the level of Government investment in the region’s infrastructure does not correlate with the day-to-day experiences of commuters.
Exactly one month after The Yorkshire Post joined forces with newspapers, and rival publishers, across the region to launch the One North campaign in the wake of unprecedented chaos on the rail network, Mrs May – and her officials – have still not had the courtesy to respond to this call for action.
Though such a discourtesy is now to be expected of Transport Secretary Chris Grayling who has repeatedly snubbed this region, and who is now scaling back pre-election plans to electrify the key trans–Pennine line between Leeds and Manchester, the travelling public had hoped for better from their PM.
After all, they’re the people who have suffered weeks of disruption as a result of cancelled, or late, trains following the recent timetable changes – and who have been warned that the chaos will continue until November.
Yet, even where troubled operator Northern has provided a service of sorts, more than 1,500 trains were shorter-than-expected in Yorkshire between May 27, just after the new timetable was introduced, and June 23. Not only is this a flagrant breach of its franchise obligations, but the consequence is even more overcrowded trains and dismay over the PM’s inaction and failure to recognise that the Northern Powerhouse will only prosper if it begins to enjoy London-like transport links.