IT will come as little surprise to those commuters who endure the region’s railways each morning that delays in Leeds rank amongst the worst in Britain –with York and Sheffield all featuring prominently on a new list of shame.
Travellers here have received a sub-standard service for too long, certainly in comparison to London which has been the beneficiary of unprecedented levels of investment. The additional rolling stock – a pre-condition of the newly-awarded Northern and TransPennine Express franchises – cannot come soon enough.
However this alone will not be sufficient. Many of the problems can be attributed to a railway infrastructure which was never intended to transport so many people each day. Network Rail, under the astute leadership of Sir Peter Hendy, must find a way of instigating improvements at those “pinch-points” – passengers should not have to wait for the advent of high-speed rail at some date in the dim and distant future.
Rail firms must not be allowed to opt out of the Consumer Rights Act, the subject of a Government consultation. As the Campaign for Better Transport makes clear, passengers should have a right to such safeguards so they’re not taken for a ride by those train operators who seem to forget all too frequently that they exist to provide a public service.