Media picks up on transport disparity between London and "the North"

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cactustwirly

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Why can't he go on his own? Parents do not have to go to open days, and a student can get used to travelling e.g. by coach rather than rail, and stay in a youth hostel.

I similarly doubt the former story is, unless the student has a disability so can neither walk nor cycle, anything other than an "it's not fair" whine. There is always a way. You don't even have to go to open days to apply; there's enough online and printed information out there too.
Parents might want to see the university, afterall they're part funding their child's course.

Anyway, Open days are much more useful than looking at a website, especially as some universities look good on paper, but not in real life and vice versa.
 

Bletchleyite

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Parents might want to see the university, afterall they're part funding their child's course.
Then they need to find a way to cough up to get there!

People have to make choices. Anyway, this was always the way - the grant (when that existed) was means tested. And mostly the kind of parents we're talking about (people who can't afford National Express fares for a family and a taxi to the coach station between them, assuming they don't drive) will be the ones of children who will receive a full loan (remembering that it's not *really* a loan, more of a grad tax) and thus won't be supporting them very much anyway!

I'm sorry, but this particular thing (not able to afford to make a one-off journey once in a lifetime that you have about 18 years' warning of when your kid is born) is either...
a. A whine
b. People who have poor spending priorities e.g. drink/smoke/Sky TV it all away
c. Something made up on here (as people on here like making up niche situations as reasons not to do things - situations that most of the time don't exist and never did)
 

cactustwirly

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Then they need to find a way to cough up to get there!

People have to make choices. Anyway, this was always the way - the grant (when that existed) was means tested.
The 'means testing' is a bit off, your parents need to be almost on the minimum wage, to get the full loan.
I'm lucky my parents can afford it, but I know a few people that are less lucky
 

Bletchleyite

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The 'means testing' is a bit off, your parents need to be almost on the minimum wage, to get the full loan.
Surely it's only those who don't have a car and may have difficulty affording a few National Express fares to attend open days, and also can't afford a taxi to the coach station AND can't find anyone to give them a lift?

This is really the silliest one I've heard as a reason to fund local bus/rail services in my life.

And if any parent tells their son/daughter they can only go to local universities because they're the only ones where the whole family can have a weekend away to the open day, they are fools. That smacks of "t'family is poor, we need to stay poor, can't have too much of a wider horizon as nobody in t'family ever had that". It's rubbish. Chuck the kid on a Megabus, get them a £15ish YHA dorm bed (that's only a couple of packets of fags not purchased these days), and let them broaden their own horizons.
 

yorksrob

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Surely it's only those who don't have a car and may have difficulty affording a few National Express fares to attend open days, and also can't afford a taxi to the coach station AND can't find anyone to give them a lift?

This is really the silliest one I've heard as a reason to fund local bus/rail services in my life.

And if any parent tells their son/daughter they can only go to local universities because they're the only ones where the whole family can have a weekend away to the open day, they are fools. That smacks of "t'family is poor, we need to stay poor, can't have too much of a wider horizon as nobody in t'family ever had that". It's rubbish. Chuck the kid on a Megabus, get them a £15ish YHA dorm bed (that's only a couple of packets of fags not purchased these days), and let them broaden their own horizons.
Access to education is a very good reason to fund public transport. It can help people get to open days, but also enable people to get home at the end of term time, or even commute to the local college if they don't want to, or can't afford to stay at home.
 

Adsy125

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I don't really get the notion that some northerners seem to have that everything down south is gold-plated; it really isn't. Round my way (home counties) the only real investment has been the Thameslink Programme, which is mainly an economic way of squeezing the last drop of spare capacity out of the existing network, or to put it another way stuffing as many trains as possible through a Victorian cross-London tunnel. Even this has been done on a shoestring, opening with bare-minimum stabling capacity provided, and schemes like the Stevenage bay platform (essential to making the plan work) deferred with services replaced by buses in the meantime. We still have 43-year-old class 313s in service, and up until the last year many services at my station were provided by 317s - early 1980s and barely refurbished since new, for many commuters their only experience of the train will have been 313s and 317s for many years. Like parts of Northern, my station has had a barely-useable weekend service for as long as can be remembered.

Meanwhile the A1(M) in one of the most heavily populated parts of the country is just two lanes each way through Hertfordshire, with a widening scheme cancelled by John Prescott in the 1990s - comparing disfavourably to the luxurious section of A1(M) through North Yorkshire - likewise other parts of the A1 have had bypasses built and roundabouts removed, unlike the Cambridgeshire section where there remain five roundabouts south of Peterborough. This means heavy congestion during the peak hours (which down here is 0600-1000 and 1500-1900), and accidents on a regular basis leading to gridlock, today being no exception.

In London we've seen extra trains for the Jubilee and Northern lines effectively cancelled for budgetary reasons, Piccadilly Line fleet replacement deferred (trains now over 45 years old), meanwhile the Bakerloo Line trains (even older) don't have a definite replacement plan. Elsewhere in my area the Croxley Link is now seemingly dead, again in an area which sees gridlocked roads on a daily basis.

I do think there's a pretty healthy dose of unrealistic expectations in places on this thread and elsewhere, some people need a bit of a reality check IMO. A certain expression about the grass always being greener on the other side of the fence springs to mind.
This is an important post that seems to be quietly ignored. When you go to London for the day and travel on the tube off peak as a visitor, everything seems fine, the same as my experience of rail in the North. However the reality for people commuting day to day is different. And the maxed out train lengths make improvements much more expensive than they are in the North. Don’t get me wrong, transport in the North isn’t great, but longer trains and a few platform extensions would solve many problems quite cheaply, a solution that just doesn’t work in London and the south east.
 

coppercapped

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Back in 1969 nobody would have been seen dead with their parents on a university visit. I went through the process twice as I needed a resit to improve a grade and in two rounds of visits I didn't see a single person with their parents.

Fares are another matter, back then anytime fares were pretty reasonable. Even doing London - Manchester - Cardiff - London on successive days with three single fares (overnight with relations) wasn't totally outrageous.
When did attending an Open Day become part of the process of going to University?

I first set eyes on my university when I arrived to register. Having got there by train, with all my belongings in a suitcase.
Even more so in 1961...!
I was travelling alone by train to see relatives from the age of 11 - which would put the date at 1955. For all sorts of real and imagined reasons children are not allowed to be so independent today. So Mummy and Daddy have to make sure that their little ones don't get into hot water
Did you not want to visit it and others first to decide if it met what you needed?
Nobody /knows/ whether a particular university is what one needs or not until one gets there. You can work out whether you like the site or the buildings - but until lectures, seminars and tutorials start nobody has any idea whether the subject or the lecturers are what you expected.

Anyway, back in 1962 it was seen as a privilege to be accepted to attend a university or College of Advanced Technology - not a right. One was happy to have been allocated a place. Also the choices of courses was more restricted - the current fad for smorgasbord mixtures of topics didn't exist - it was maths; physics (sometimes pure or applied); chemistry (sometimes inorganic and organic); mechanical engineering; electrical engineering; law; music; economics; etc. One knew what one was getting into.
 

TUC

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Surely it's only those who don't have a car and may have difficulty affording a few National Express fares to attend open days, and also can't afford a taxi to the coach station AND can't find anyone to give them a lift?

This is really the silliest one I've heard as a reason to fund local bus/rail services in my life.

And if any parent tells their son/daughter they can only go to local universities because they're the only ones where the whole family can have a weekend away to the open day, they are fools. That smacks of "t'family is poor, we need to stay poor, can't have too much of a wider horizon as nobody in t'family ever had that". It's rubbish. Chuck the kid on a Megabus, get them a £15ish YHA dorm bed (that's only a couple of packets of fags not purchased these days), and let them broaden their own horizons.
I agree. Back in the 1980s I visited the places that I was considering studying at, not least because, like most students, I was interviewed by them before being given an offer. Goodness know how those saying they can’t manage to visit a potential university would have coped with having to travel and be interviewed to even have a chance of a place!
 

TUC

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I don't really get the notion that some northerners seem to have that everything down south is gold-plated; it really isn't. Round my way (home counties) the only real investment has been the Thameslink Programme, which is mainly an economic way of squeezing the last drop of spare capacity out of the existing network, or to put it another way stuffing as many trains as possible through a Victorian cross-London tunnel. Even this has been done on a shoestring, opening with bare-minimum stabling capacity provided, and schemes like the Stevenage bay platform (essential to making the plan work) deferred with services replaced by buses in the meantime. We still have 43-year-old class 313s in service, and up until the last year many services at my station were provided by 317s - early 1980s and barely refurbished since new, for many commuters their only experience of the train will have been 313s and 317s for many years. Like parts of Northern, my station has had a barely-useable weekend service for as long as can be remembered.

Meanwhile the A1(M) in one of the most heavily populated parts of the country is just two lanes each way through Hertfordshire, with a widening scheme cancelled by John Prescott in the 1990s - comparing disfavourably to the luxurious section of A1(M) through North Yorkshire - likewise other parts of the A1 have had bypasses built and roundabouts removed, unlike the Cambridgeshire section where there remain five roundabouts south of Peterborough. This means heavy congestion during the peak hours (which down here is 0600-1000 and 1500-1900), and accidents on a regular basis leading to gridlock, today being no exception.

In London we've seen extra trains for the Jubilee and Northern lines effectively cancelled for budgetary reasons, Piccadilly Line fleet replacement deferred (trains now over 45 years old), meanwhile the Bakerloo Line trains (even older) don't have a definite replacement plan. Elsewhere in my area the Croxley Link is now seemingly dead, again in an area which sees gridlocked roads on a daily basis.

I do think there's a pretty healthy dose of unrealistic expectations in places on this thread and elsewhere, some people need a bit of a reality check IMO. A certain expression about the grass always being greener on the other side of the fence springs to mind.
The south east may well have further needs. Fine, but they’ve had plenty met already. Get to the back of the queue and wait your turn.
 

cactustwirly

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The south east may well have further needs. Fine, but they’ve had plenty met already. Get to the back of the queue and wait your turn.
But the thing you're forgetting, is that London has greater needs for capacity than the rest of the UK.
The money is spent on schemes that have the most benefit.
 

driver_m

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These threads always get predictable reactions from the usual suspects where someone from the Home Counties usually comes on bleating about how a 313 trundling about somewhere in the SE somehow equates to the North not being that badly done to. So I’m not going to get all Zen and above it all, I shall wade in feet first and say that the SE is seriously unbalancing the whole of the rest of our country with its incessant demands to be funded because that where the investment is. Well it has to look beyond itself for once and actually take one for the rest of the UK.

I’m sorry but I’ve done some trekking around parts of the South and I’m not convinced that the likes of Berkhamstead, Canterbury, Oxford, Milton Keynes or Slough are somehow hard done by. I don’t even have to mention the North to give examples of places that aren’t doing that well. Stoke on Trent. (Neither Midland not Northern). Holyhead, inland Cornwall, such as Redruth and Camborne. I can throw various de-industrialised towns like mine (St Helens) they have been just left to rot, and there’s plenty similar, Burnley, Heavy Woollen districts in West Yorkshire, Castleford, etc etc. A bit of knitting and the odd new hospital might do a bit of good, but to have more sustained balance, we need to invest in our talented kids up here, and keep them here. Not have them feel they have to go down London or abroad to get decent jobs. The North is finally starting to speak with one voice, but there are plenty of other areas needing the help and it would be more appropriate to say it’s London/Home Counties vs Rest of UK than North/South. Sorry to all on here from the SE but you are harming the fabric of our country, even if it isn’t directly your fault, and you really need to get out to the places I’ve mentioned if you don’t buy it, to see it with your own eyes. One of the DJ’s on Radio 5 said after moving to Manchester he was shocked at the absolute poverty up here compared to down south.
 

radamfi

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I don’t even have to mention the North to give examples of places that aren’t doing that well. Stoke on Trent. (Neither Midland not Northern). Holyhead, inland Cornwall, such as Redruth and Camborne.
In fact, the only regions of the UK that are considered "less developed" when it comes to EU Regional Policy (and thus qualify for the most EU cash) are Cornwall, West Wales and the Valleys. Greater Manchester, Cheshire, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and Northumbria are considered "more developed". They have a GDP of over 90% of the EU average.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regional_policy_of_the_European_Union
 

Djgr

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In fact, the only regions of the UK that are considered "less developed" when it comes to EU Regional Policy (and thus qualify for the most EU cash) are Cornwall, West Wales and the Valleys. Greater Manchester, Cheshire, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and Northumbria are considered "more developed". They have a GDP of over 90% of the EU average.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regional_policy_of_the_European_Union
And the average includes countries such as Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia and so exceeding 90% is not necessarily a fantastic achievement. As I'm sure you realise.
 

radamfi

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And the average includes countries such as Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia and so exceeding 90% is not necessarily a fantastic achievement. As I'm sure you realise.
Oh, of course. I was pointing out how poor Wales and Cornwall are, given that on the same scale, West Yorkshire is considered "more developed".
 

158756

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And the average includes countries such as Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia and so exceeding 90% is not necessarily a fantastic achievement. As I'm sure you realise.
If we compare with other countries in Northern and Western Europe the state don't look good at all. On the 2016 numbers, the latest I can find, in addition to Cornwall and West Wales already mentioned, the North East, Lancashire, Merseyside, Humberside, South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire, as well as Devon, Dorset and Somerset in the South West, and Northern Ireland, are all at least as poor as the worst bit of the former East Germany.
 

option

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Of which 3 are local public sector who fund through additional local tax raising (council tax levy for GLA/TfL (which bill payers see documented to the nearest penny on their bills), business rates increments) not central government funding pass through.
The DfT non loan contribution (e.g. excluding loans to cover cost overruns) is only 27% of the total current cost estimate.

Crossrail should be profitable (including covering all debt repayments) about 15-18 months after opening.
but it's not 'London' that is actually paying for all that

TfL - has massive fares income, & future income from Crossrail, that it can borrow against. Nowhere else comes close.
CIL - nicely overheated London property market
Business Rate Supplement - all those HQs paying it out of income earned elsewhere in the UK

The TfL fares income is built upon infrastructure that was built or extended whilst London Transport was part of central government. (1948-70)
DLR was built by the LDDC, so central government money.

London Overground, though they take on the revenues risk, they get to keep the revenues, so they also get to retain any profits.
Again, much of those revenues are built upon central gov spending, eg. South London Line '£64 million from the DfT and £15 million from TfL'
GOBLIN electrification, where has the funding come from?

It's even seemingly small things like Victoria Coach station. In 1970 it was nationalised, then in 1988 it was transferred to London ownership. Pretty much everywhere else the coach stations ended up with National Express.
It gives TfL a nice income; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Coach_Station#Financials_[12]
(>£1m profit the past few years)
Then there's the rent from units in Underground stations (& presumably Overground stations)
 

mmh

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Please don't link the Daily Mail on this forum again. Ta ;)
It's a valid news source, whether you agree with its editorial stances or not.

Which have changed considerably under its current editorship. For example it is now pro-EU and pro-remain.
 

mmh

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A very motor-centric point of view. What is there for those who are either too young, or too old to drive, or who can't afford to drive.
You rely on friends and family, or you just don't go anywhere.

In large parts of the country you apply for your provisional licence when you're 16 so you can take your test as soon after becoming 17 as possible. Because you need to.
 

yorksrob

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You rely on friends and family, or you just don't go anywhere.

In large parts of the country you apply for your provisional licence when you're 16 so you can take your test as soon after becoming 17 as possible. Because you need to.
I was very lucky to grow up in a railway town.
 

Wolfie

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London is highly subsidised in terms of capital expenditure compared to the rest of the country. Look at all the investment poured down the drain on Crossrail. Look at all the money on new carriages and extra trains, and still Londoners complain that more needs to be spent. The best way forward would be ‘no investment for London for the next five years’ and spend an equivalent amount elsewhere.
Crossrail is mostly being paid for by London. I have no problem with your plan just as long as London is not expected to pay a single penny for it.
 
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Bletchleyite

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A bit of knitting and the odd new hospital might do a bit of good, but to have more sustained balance, we need to invest in our talented kids up here, and keep them here. Not have them feel they have to go down London or abroad to get decent jobs. The North is finally starting to speak with one voice, but there are plenty of other areas needing the help and it would be more appropriate to say it’s London/Home Counties vs Rest of UK than North/South.
I think this is an entirely fair point - and availability of work is the whole reason I live in the South East at all! I suspect this is also true for @DarloRich?

(Of course changing ways of working in IT, i.e. more remote working, may well bring me back north again at some point!)

Sorry to all on here from the SE but you are harming the fabric of our country
However there was no need for that. Most people in the SE didn't specifically choose to live there, they were born there and live there. Most people do not relocate around the country.

One of the DJ’s on Radio 5 said after moving to Manchester he was shocked at the absolute poverty up here compared to down south.
He obviously led a sheltered life down South. OK, MK is really quite middle class, but there are some very poor people in London itself, and they suffer all the more because of the outrageous house prices and rents. At least you can get an old terrace in Oldham or Toxteth or somewhere like that for next to nowt - it's not posh but it's somewhere to live.

I'd say London easily has the biggest rich-poor disparity in the UK by a country mile.
 

Bantamzen

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This is an important post that seems to be quietly ignored. When you go to London for the day and travel on the tube off peak as a visitor, everything seems fine, the same as my experience of rail in the North. However the reality for people commuting day to day is different. And the maxed out train lengths make improvements much more expensive than they are in the North. Don’t get me wrong, transport in the North isn’t great, but longer trains and a few platform extensions would solve many problems quite cheaply, a solution that just doesn’t work in London and the south east.
I don't think anyone denies that there are not problems in the capital, what is under debate is the potential disparity in investment between the two areas. London has probably the most joined-up transport infrastructure of anywhere in the UK. Yes parts of it need more capacity, though in part this is due to ever increasing numbers of people moving there (or at least within the commuter belt) because of a consistent lack of investment elsewhere.

Personally speaking, my little corner of the world is reasonably served by rail, albeit with a growing need for capacity as 4 car is the maximum most stations can currently handle. However the bus network has been decimated, and despite the best efforts of action groups in the area, becoming increasingly disjointed with rail. Something as simple as a like for like TfL would go some way to improving that.

But that would require investment in the North, which leads us back to the disparity.
 

DarloRich

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The North is finally starting to speak with one voice
No they are not. Everything is focused on Manchester, a bit on Leeds, a tiny bit on Liverpool and sod the rest. The North East is barely mentioned when taking about investment.

Even then the conversation is based on petty jealousy rather than focus on what would actually benefit communities.

Sorry to all on here from the SE but you are harming the fabric of our country, even if it isn’t directly your fault, and you really need to get out to the places I’ve mentioned if you don’t buy it, to see it with your own eyes
Cheers. How do you think an argument about damaging the social fabric of our country would have gone down with the judge looking at giving me a CCJ or dealing with the bailiffs at the door? That's right none. Nonsense about "social fabric" wont keep food on the table or a roof over your head. It wasn't by choice that i gave up my family and friends to move to an area where i knew no one and the beer was terrible. It was because i was desperate. You, frankly, have no idea what you are talking about.

As for the last sentence. God. it is almost as if you think moving south deletes all memories or family connection with some of the really poor areas in the North East that I lived in and my family still live in. I know what goes on. Thanks.

I suspect this is also true for @DarloRich?
Correct.
 

bramling

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These threads always get predictable reactions from the usual suspects where someone from the Home Counties usually comes on bleating about how a 313 trundling about somewhere in the SE somehow equates to the North not being that badly done to. So I’m not going to get all Zen and above it all, I shall wade in feet first and say that the SE is seriously unbalancing the whole of the rest of our country with its incessant demands to be funded because that where the investment is. Well it has to look beyond itself for once and actually take one for the rest of the UK.

I’m sorry but I’ve done some trekking around parts of the South and I’m not convinced that the likes of Berkhamstead, Canterbury, Oxford, Milton Keynes or Slough are somehow hard done by. I don’t even have to mention the North to give examples of places that aren’t doing that well. Stoke on Trent. (Neither Midland not Northern). Holyhead, inland Cornwall, such as Redruth and Camborne. I can throw various de-industrialised towns like mine (St Helens) they have been just left to rot, and there’s plenty similar, Burnley, Heavy Woollen districts in West Yorkshire, Castleford, etc etc. A bit of knitting and the odd new hospital might do a bit of good, but to have more sustained balance, we need to invest in our talented kids up here, and keep them here. Not have them feel they have to go down London or abroad to get decent jobs. The North is finally starting to speak with one voice, but there are plenty of other areas needing the help and it would be more appropriate to say it’s London/Home Counties vs Rest of UK than North/South. Sorry to all on here from the SE but you are harming the fabric of our country, even if it isn’t directly your fault, and you really need to get out to the places I’ve mentioned if you don’t buy it, to see it with your own eyes. One of the DJ’s on Radio 5 said after moving to Manchester he was shocked at the absolute poverty up here compared to down south.
I wonder if the NHS offers surgery to install additional shoulders to rest all those chips on?

If the argument is about investing in the north and rebalancing the economy, then I agree to at least some extent. Notwithstanding the point that this doesn't resolve problems which are issues *now*, and will still be issues no matter how much economic rebalancing is able to be achieved, most of the moans here and elsewhere seem to relate to dislike of Pacers and the ("southern castoff") class 319s - and before the first Pacer has even been withdrawn it seems 150s are the new focus of northern victimism. None of this helps further any argument about deprivation, it merely sounds like sour grapes, and serves to diminish what might otherwise be a serious point.

As for St Helens, both its stations have seen their respective routes electrified in recent years, as well as St Helens Central station being rebuilt virtually from top to bottom only a few years ago - that's hardly being left to rot, at least from a transport investment perspective.

There's plenty of places in the SE with deprivation - parts of London for a start, not to mention places well out of sight like Clacton, East Kent, Hastings, Great Yarmouth or Gosport. There seems to be this notion that everyone in the SE lives in gold-plated luxury, which simply isn't the case at all.

None of this will be taken seriously whilst we hear frankly pathetic arguments like how it's so unfair X got investment and Y didn't, or that there should be some kind of carousel process for allocating investment spending in turn rather than looking at where benefit is maximised, or how terrible it is that the north got the perfectly satisfactory class 319s, or even dafter that it’s somehow the fault of others for having the audacity to be born in or move to a home county.
 
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bramling

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No they are not. Everything is focused on Manchester, a bit on Leeds, a tiny bit on Liverpool and sod the rest. The North East is barely mentioned when taking about investment.

Even then the conversation is based on petty jealousy rather than focus on what would actually benefit communities.



Cheers. How do you think an argument about damaging the social fabric of our country would have gone down with the judge looking at giving me a CCJ or dealing with the bailiffs at the door? That's right none. Nonsense about "social fabric" wont keep food on the table or a roof over your head. It wasn't by choice that i gave up my family and friends to move to an area where i knew no one and the beer was terrible. It was because i was desperate. You, frankly, have no idea what you are talking about.

As for the last sentence. God. it is almost as if you think moving south deletes all memories or family connection with some of the really poor areas in the North East that I lived in and my family still live in. I know what goes on. Thanks.
Excellent post.
 

GrimShady

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Scotland's quite lucky in all honesty. For all of us who give ScotRail a hard time just remember that nothing....nothing is as bad as Northern Rail. Nothing!

@DarloRich, quite right the NE never gets anything invested. The last best thing they got was the Newcastle Metro. Since then sod and all.
 
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Ianno87

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Scotland's quite lucky in all honesty. For all of us who give ScotRail a hard time just remember that nothing....nothing is as bad as Northern Rail. Nothing!

@DarloRich, quite right the NE never gets anything invested. The last best thing they got was the Newcastle Metro. Since then and all.
ECML electrification too.
And upgrade of most of the A1 (to the south) as motorway.
 

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