The BBC will broadcast a live programme from York tonight examining the state of transport in the North.
Inside Out will come from the National Railway Museum at 7.30pm (BBC1, Monday, September 10). It is the first time that the programme has broadcast a live episode across all three BBC regions across the north – BBC North West, Yorkshire and Lincolshire, and North East and Cumbria.
It will investigate the rail chaos that has dominated headlines and cost the northern economy millions.
And it has wrangled an apology from the transport secretary for the problems that have beset passengers.
‘Really sorry for the disruption’
In a pre-recorded interview, transport secretary Chris Grayling will admit there have been problems with the new Azuma trains on the East Coast Main Line.
It has been discovered that the electronics of some of these trains can interfere with points and level crossings.
Mr Grayling tells the programme:
We’ve had teething problems here, just as we’ve had teething problems on the Great Western Line.
We’ve started to move now towards the greater integration of track and trains.
The new franchises involve much closer working with Network Rail – the track operator – and the train companies, but we’re going to get brand new trains working – they start arriving next year.
He also apologised to rail passengers in the north after a summer of train timetable changes, cancelations and complaints of over-crowding: “I’m really sorry for the disruption we’ve had – it’s been a huge frustration to me because this was the introduction of a major new investment that didn’t work out at the start.”
Transport put to the test
The live episode of Inside Out will also include a panel discussion with guests including Jake Berry, the Northern Powerhouse minister; Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham; Lynsey Hanley, passenger and journalist; and Robert Nisbet from the Rail Delivery Group.
And the show challenged three of its presenters to a time trial from Liverpool to Newcastle to put transport in the North to the test.
Each of the presenters travelled via different methods of transport to establish which route is the quickest, easiest and most cost effective.
All three presenters experienced delays and problems along the way and the outcome will be revealed in Monday night’s live programme.