Months after the disastrous introduction of a new timetable last May, nearly one third of services were late – or cancelled – in November and December to add to the woes of commuters as fares go up.
However, while some of this disruption can be attributed to a lack of investment in the rail infrastructure and rolling stock by successive governments, such a lamentable record would not be tolerated in London or the South East.
Nor would it be accepted in any other public service. If the performance of schools or hospitals declined so markedly, headteachers and NHS managers would be held to account. Why, therefore, should the rail industry be any different?
Unfortunately this question of accountability will not be resolved while Transport Secretary Chris Grayling remains in post and refuses to accept any responsibility of his own.
That said, this newspaper – with the help of others – has demonstrated that transport links are integral to the region’s future prosperity. And, given this, it is important that businesses support the Northern Powerhouse Partnership’s latest consultation on this issue. If they set out their views in sufficient numbers, it will be harder for Ministers to say ‘no’ to this region’s future requests.