Giving Boris Johnson a guided tour of a Sheffield to Leeds train journey

Dear Boris Johnson. I don’t know you well but it appears you may never have had the unbridled joy of trying to travel from Sheffield by rail.

Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 2:17 pm
Sheffield railway station where long suffering commuters aim to travel across the north each day

As the long-awaited (that’s an understatement) eastern leg of the high speed HS2 rail link looks set to be scrapped, let me give you a virtual guided tour of what it entails for long suffering public transport users.

First: catch your train, let’s say from Sheffield to Leeds. This is trickier than it sounds, even for the Eton educated, and despite the journey being only 35 miles long. Embarrassing really.

Anyway the train is heavily likely to be delayed, the platform could invariably change at the last minute, and if you are really lucky, it will be completely cancelled, forcing two or more train’s worth of passengers to cram themselves on to the next available service, risking Covid-19 and possible pregnancy.

If you are really lucky, you might get to stand next to the train toilet, as on this service from Manchester to Sheffield

Then, endure the journey. Can you believe it can take one hour and 22 minutes to get to Leeds, if the faster services are cancelled?

Oh, the years of my life I spent on the slow service between Sheffield and Castleford as a young reporter. It only takes two hours to get down to London!

Indeed, it wouldn’t be a surprise to look outside and see two men pumping it along like the handcars of the 1850s, such is the speed.

What makes the glacial pace even worse is the view. Not out of the window, don’t be silly. While you might have booked a seat several weeks ago, you won’t be using it.

No, I’m afraid you’ll be squashed into a rack with a view of someone’s luggage, or my favourite, trying not to breathe through your nose next to the, inevitably blocked, toilet.

Then, once you’ve turned up late to work, or missed the meeting you were travelling for, it’s time to do it all again.

Its not really good enough for thousands of voters and a huge slice of the country now, is it Boris?