Robert Hampton

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15th December 2011

Driving Home For Christmas (well, there’s no trains, after all)
Posted by at 9.43pm | 2 responses | In the News, Trains

Good old Metro, inviting its hard-pressed commuter audience to indulge in some collective gnashing of teeth:-

Britain faces a Christmas holiday railway shutdown with virtually no trains for almost 60 hours from 5pm on Christmas Eve.

Leaving aside the blatant lie (most services don’t start winding down until after 8pm on Christmas Eve), this isn’t really news, is it? The Christmas shutdown is a tradition going back many years, all the way back to the days of British Rail. And why is Metro making a big deal out of it now when the Christmas trains info has been published on National Rail’s web site for weeks?

There is a prober debate to be had about public transport provision over the Christmas period (the lack of Merseyrail on Boxing Day is often an inconvenience for me) but Metro – like its stable-mate the Daily Mail – is more interested in unconstructive whining.

Incidentally, the rail network doesn’t shut down entirely for two days: there will be teams of engineering staff out and about, taking advantage of two days without trains to do some serious work. For example, on 25th and 26th December 2004 the new footbridge over the West Coast Main Line at Liverpool South Parkway was craned into position, while this year Network Rail are replacing a bridge at Sandhills (although the work is too much for two days, so there are rail replacement buses a-plenty for Northern Line passengers on the 27th and 28th).

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2 Responses
  1. Comment by Richard Price
    18th December 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Agreed Robert – the Metro comment was all pretty misleading, and the last thing we want it for customers to get the impression that services are ending before they actually are and being forced onto the roads. It is also not news. The fact is that the railways have long taken the opportunity of Christmas and other holidays to do essential maintenance and upgrades to make services more reliable – it is the best time to do it, and provided it’s well managed the disruption can be minimised. Don’t forget the thousands of rail workers giving up their Christmas break to get the work done. The idea that people are somehow knocking off early for an easy life is nonsense.

  2. Comment by Radiance Strathdee
    22nd December 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Robert, the Metro is crap – that it does not publish news is not news. However your blog on Doctors is the best snippet I have read anywhere. That I missed a camp episode – such regret! Merry Christsmas to you and more power to your pen – that’s enough ed.