Many long-suffering rail passengers would be amazed to hear that the Ordsall Chord has transformed connectivity in the North West ( RAIL 860). There have been major problems of timekeeping ever since its opening.
Although it is undoubtedly an engineering achievement, what it was built to do was only part of the solution.
There was to be an increase in capacity on the Piccadilly-Oxford Road segment, to get the benefit of the extra journey traffic generated by this investment. This was stopped by DfT intervention, so as an investment it must be a negative rate of return and really does show the political and economic chaos to which the UK rail network has sunk.
The rail system’s organisation is failing (as the recent timetable fiasco has shown), and really does need root and branch reform
based upon getting rid of all the Civil Service control and regulation.
We also need to depoliticise the network from local and national figures concerned with their own agendas. And above all, get rid of Network Rail and develop an engineering project facility that grows its own expertise.
A private, regulated monopoly gets my vote, which with complete vertical integration would eliminate the fragmentation that we have been seeing. This new organisation should also be armed with a remit to decarbonise its operations, so we can get rid of the diesels. Paul Brooks-Burke, Manchester