While many of us have still to hoover up those remaining pine needles, Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has been having a whale of a time trying to blame everything on train operators and Network Rail.
Thousands were left stranded in North London on 27 December after some bright spark decided to divert Kings Cross trains to Finsbury Park — a station which is an order of magnitude smaller. Cue outrage from McLoughlin:
“The situation on the railways this weekend has been totally unacceptable. Passengers must be able to trust that vital engineering works on the rail network will be completed on time. I will be asking Network Rail to set out what went wrong and how they can learn lessons”
And with fare prices hiked by 2.5% today, the Department for Transport’s press release on rail fare rises doesn’t even mention Network Rail (who are set to spend a massive chunk of the proceeds), instead casting themselves as the heroes stepping in to prevent prevent those dastardly private rail operators from raising prices even further.
Has McLoughlin forgotten that time where he stood up in the Commons and told MPs that Network Rail had been reclassified as an arms-length body of his own department … along with the document he signed off stating that the person responsible to parliament for the performance of Network Rail was, errrr, himself?
Here’s page 10 of the Network Rail Framework Agreement:
The 8:10 McLoughlin service will not be stopping at Buck station today.