Manchester City Council

Blame it on the Weather

A busy day but not quite the way I had originally intended.

Spent most of the day at my desk - long overdue - catching up with e-mails. Had intended to be in London, firstly for a meeting of the Core Cities Cabinet, then for the launch of the RSA ( Royal Society of Arts )'s Core Cities, London Councils and London Mayor supported Cities Growth Commission, and finally for a meeting with Shadow Transport Minister, Mary Creagh. Checked the Virgin website at about 6.30 this morning which said all services were running normally. Boarded the 7.35am train shown as being on time and then was rudely evicted ( along with all the other passengers ) at Maccesfield and informed by a rather harassed looking Virgin employee standing on the steps leading to a footbridge over the tracks that all trains to London were now cancelled. The cause, apparently a fallen tree somewhere between Birmingham and London. One tree and the whole of the West Coast Main Line grinds to a halt, and we don't, say the cynics, need anymore capacity.

A word about the Cities Growth Commission. Core Cities have already joined with the Mayor of London and London Councils in the CityCentred campaign, based on the report of the London Finance Commission, and calling for significant financial devolution to our major cities. The Growth Commission takes this further and aims to build further evidence on how government policy needs to change in respect of cities to give them the freedoms they need to create jobs and growth, not just in their own boundaries, but for the benefit of the wider regions they lie at the heart of. There is now a massive body of evidence that shows excessive centralisation is holding our cities back. There is a massive amount of evidence from elsewhere that cities in more decentralised countries contribute far more to overall national economic well-being. Hopefully the growth commission can bring all of this together and give authoritive advice to the next government about what it needs to do to unleash the power of our cities.

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There are 8 responses to “Blame it on the Weather”

  1. Ian Says:

    Would'nt the trouble you had with the trains shows that along with utilities these services should be run via public owed bodies. Just as a side line would'nt a tree down also stop the HS2 just a thought.

  2. jim Says:

    Just picked this from one of the papers forums:

    Just checked on National Rail
    I live near Watford, if I want an off-peak train to Manchester Piccadilly it will cost £154 & take 2hrs 25min inc. a change in Milton Keynes.
    Add to that getting to Watford Junction, parking etc 40mins
    total time 3hrs 5 mins
    £154 plus parking

    Google Maps if I drive
    185 miles, car will do 50mpg on motorway, overall say 45mpg.
    4.11 gallons of diesel = 18.7 litres @ £1.39/litre = £26
    total time 3hrs 4 mins
    £26 for diesel

    If two of us go, halve the cost per person, if its a family trip do the maths.

    If I wanted to use HS2, I would have to drive to Watford, park up, get the train to Euston and then pay more for the fast service. Overall there would be a negligible amount of time saved and it would cost a lot more. No chance.

    HS2 is an exclusive service that will only benefit businesses that can afford it based in London, Manchester, Birmingham or Leeds. Yet the whole country will pay for it when what we all really want is more spent on healthcare & schools and of course a reduction of our national debt.

    I might also add that I work for businesses all over Europe and the number of face to face meetings over the last few years has been vastly reduced in favour of VOIP and video conferencing.

  3. Sam Says:

    Surely the north needs its own system joining its own cities to build up it's economy? "London type" cross-rail, an economic hub, interconnection?

    Why do people always think that the only way to help the north is make it easier to get down south?

  4. Edward Balls Says:

    Wow, didn't realise hs2 trains could plow through trees and carry on regardless. This is something of a game changer.

    Pass the chequebook, how much did you say, £50 billion? Bargain..

  5. Richaard Leese Says:

    @Jim I've checked and could get a first class ticket tomorrow for £53, get two hours work done on the train, and arrive totally relaxed and fat chance of you averaging 60mph on the M6 unless your travelling in the early hours of the morning. The business case for HS2 is based on exactly the same fare structure as for the current West Coast Main Line, so as now will be used by a vast cross-section of society. It will also help persuade thousamds to leave their cars at home, which will make it a lot easier for you if you do choose to drive

  6. Richard Leese Says:

    @Sam Over the next five years Network Rail will be spending £37b on other rail improvements including freeing up capacity for more services between Northern cities and making Liverpool-Manchester and Manchester-Leeds a lot faster

  7. franky Says:

    I totally agree that city regions should be able to make their own financial decisions, and so should this government which believes in localism!!

  8. Jim Says:

    Richaard Leese Says

    I would love to find out a single ticket comes in at £53 between London and Manchester, I went on Trainline which we all know is 40% cheaper than the Train companies and came at my price.

    What I can't get is why spending £50 Billion on London to Manchester will increase the employment in Manchester?

    Richaard you mention the fact of being fresh after the train trip to London, why don't you do like a large number of top 100 companies you stop travel time and use tech to have your meeting video or phone conferencing, now would'nt that save time money and your carbon footprint? as well as £50 billion.

    Please name any large Government project that has come anywhere in near budget. You just need to look at how much over budget the games were. This HS2 has allready jumped to £42 billion, now look at the French who are increasing there high speed track a simular distance priced at £17 billion how come ours costs so much before its even started.

    I have a fear the only people that will gain by this folly is the construction companies, due to the time delay in actually finishing this project the trains and equipment will be out of date.



The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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