‘Northern Fail’, ‘Network Fail’ – and everyone else seems to be failing in this latest debacle on the railways where the new May timetables have led to thousands of cancellations across the country, mostly on Northern Rail and Govia Thameslink. As the poor bloody commuters suffer, those in charge play the blame game. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling accuses the train companies, the train companies blame Network Rail and the unions accuse both the train firms and the government. What an appalling piece of planning, which comes against a background where confidence in the railways is steadily falling, helped by the franchising fiasco on the East Coast Main Line and months of strikes over the role of guards on Southern. Further to this, there’s an alarming underlying trend. at work. After years of passenger growth, the numbers are starting to fall again, driven by changed working and social patterns. This latest debacle cannot help but drive even more passengers away.