Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Staff Hangovers Blamed for Network Rail Fiasco; Too Little, Too Late: Work Continues Today on the West Coast Main Line at Rugby. Network Rail Said It Would Reopen Tomorrow

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Staff Hangovers Blamed for Network Rail Fiasco; Too Little, Too Late: Work Continues Today on the West Coast Main Line at Rugby. Network Rail Said It Would Reopen Tomorrow

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL WAUGH, DICK MURRAY, JACK LEFLEY

TRANSPORT Secretary Ruth Kelly was accused of being "invisible" today asrail commuters faced another day of misery.

Ms Kelly came under fire from the Tories as pressure grew for ministers to stepin after it emerged that hungover engineers were to blame for yet moredisruption and delays.

Liverpool Street station reopened too late for the morning rush afterengineering work which was supposed to finish on New Year's Day.

The West Coast main line was hit by delays and cancellations as an upgrade,which forced the central part of the route around Rugby to close, over-ran fora fourth day.

A full service between Euston and Scotland will start tomorrow, Network Railpromised today. The line has been shut between Northampton and Birmingham sinceChristmas Day.

Although rail minister Tom Harris has said he is "disappointed" by the delays,Ms Kelly has been absent from London during the fiasco. It is believed she isstill in her Bolton constituency.

Shadow transport secretary Boris and

Theresa Villiers said: "Ruth Kelly should be tackling this crisis head on andreassuring commuters that everything is being done to guarantee that thisdebacle never happens again.

"Instead she and her ministers have been characteristically invisiblethroughout the crisis. Yet again Labour are failing to provide efficient publicservices and failing to provide value for money.

"Labour created Network Rail.

Ruth Kelly needs to carry the can for Network Rail's failure." Mr Harris said:"While these engineering works are intended to deliver improvements, like manypassengers I am disappointed they have over-run into the working week. I knowthe rail regulator is examining the issues behind this delay and we are talkingto Network Rail about what Ken clash they are doing to complete this work. …

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