Chris Grayling thinks nostalgia can fix the east coast mainline. He’s wrong | Ian Jack
I thrill to memories of steam trains hurtling past my home. But blaming nationalisation for ruining a golden age is misguided
Struggling to supply a lick of bright paint to his plans for the east coast mainline, Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, settled on the word “iconic”. He told the Commons on Wednesday that the new, publicly owned operator scheduled to replace the failed Virgin-Stagecoach combine next month will be called the LNER. “One of Britain’s iconic rail brands … the London North Eastern Railway,” he said, getting it half right as usual: the original title had a conjunction – it was the London and North Eastern Railway – which gives a truer idea of its scope. Without the conjunction, it might be a suburban transport network that reaches no further than Enfield. With it, you have a notion of the 500-mile line that connects London King’s Cross to the great cathedrals of York and Durham, and skirts the North Sea all the way from Alnmouth to Aberdeen.
At Carlisle, my brother pointed out an ‘apple-green’ LNER engine. I never saw one so unforgettably green again
Source: Guardian Transport