They had leaves on the line in the North of England last week, and the trains were halted. On a weekday, when thousands of commuters were trying to get to work, college and school; let alone the other, vast number of folk who thought they they would see the railway as their most convenient form of travel.
Because it was in the North, the stoppage raised barely a glimmer of interest in the South. If it had happened in Kent or Surrey, to trains into London Bridge or Waterloo, all hell would have broken loose. Instead, it was just another day of misery, to go with the other numerous days lost, including when they changed the timetable, and the services across the North could not cope.
Meanwhile, the Government is pressing ahead with a £56bn plan to develop HS2. Will the new high-speed link between London and the North-West change any of this? Will it improve things? Not at all. Will it make a difference that justifies such vast expenditure? Hardly. Is it a grotesque example of ministerial machismo, of gesture politics, of a total inability to see the wood for the trees? You bet it is.
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