Express & Star

Star comment: Time to change route over train strikes

The rail strikes have gone on for too long. Both sides share responsibility for failing to come to a resolution.


The common ground that should have been found has not, and the public have paid the price for the intransigence of both sides.

The strikes taking place today, tomorrow, and others that will follow, are in addition to an extended work to rule. The cumulative effect is to put the rail services into meltdown.

There will be no trains today, far fewer trains tomorrow and many cancelled trains next week as drivers refuse to work overtime. It has upset plans for Eurovision and threatens to bring chaos on FA Cup Final day.

The unions, management and ministers seem to be on a kamikaze pact to destroy confidence in the railways. We simply cannot trust trains to take us where we want to go so travellers will instead look to other forms of transport.

This newspaper has repeatedly questioned whether our rail system is fit for purpose in recent weeks and the BBC held a debate yesterday asking if ‘trains are finished’. Meanwhile, services at TransPennine Express are so poor they have been nationalised – a punishment that has also been threatened to Avanti West Coast because of poor reliability. It is an abject mess and the Department for Transport seems not to be able to implement the necessary efficiencies required.

The determination of bosses not to strike a deal, coupled with the union’s power and refusal to back down, means we have reached an impasse. It is time for independent bodies to become involved to settle the matter and for those responsible to take charge and run the rail service properly.


There are many nations around the world that view Britain’s heritage and history with considerable envy. And that is not surprising. The UK has a dazzling array of buildings and artefacts that illustrate its once-mighty position in the world and that show ingenuity, inventiveness and brilliance across many centuries.

British craftsmen, inventors, manufacturers, builders and artists have shown remarkable skill and many treasures have been duly recorded. History is a supremely important subject and we are lucky to have such a rich industrial history in our region.

The Historic England project will ensure that a full archive will be created and we can be part of it. It is not all about war memorials or stately homes – old milestones, postboxes and even sewage pumping stations can be of importance. Such items show how our forebears lived.