On two occasions this week, a faulty Northern-run train on the Wharfedale Line between Ilkley and Leeds, a key commuter route, has brought services to a standstill for several hours with passengers again offered no satisfactory explanation as lines of communication broke down too.
Such unreliable services are playing with people’s livelihoods – some who depend on the train to get to and from work on time are now having to count upon the goodwill, and forbearance, of their bosses to avoid losing their jobs.
And, to these people, it is, frankly, insulting – after a summer of delays and disruption – that passengers on most of Northern’s commuter lines in Yorkshire won’t qualify for the recompense being made available in the North West Again, this appears to be another example of the railway industry putting self-interest before the public interest.
Yet this shouldn’t detract from the number one priority – getting services back to normal so timetables are not works of fiction. Yet, with Northern clearly investing insufficient sums in its rolling stock, and its franchise not due to run out until March 31, 2025, passengers face a long seven years unless the Government acts now and gives Transport for the North the power so that it can start from scratch and create a proper public service that’s fit for purpose.