Rail industry gets it together – but why not all the time

The coordination to get a rail service between the two halves of Workington cut off by the flood has been a tribute to the rail industry. Given that it involved Network Rail building a new station and Northern having to provide extra train services, the speed with which it has been carried through is nothing short of miraculous.

The fact that the service is free makes it even better. It would be interesting to know, though, who precisely is paying the bill. I suspect that there has been a considerable amount of government subsidy to oil the works, which is fine of course given that it is a public service. And it has all been done without a business case and the associated paraphernalia. Now if all this can be done in a few days, then why can’t new stations, extra bits of track, altered junctions and the like be done far faster and more cheaply

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