“Easter is cancelled! Passengers have been told by rail companies not to travel by train this Easter as the closure of major routes will cause chaos…and many key services will be axed.” That’s from the Daily Mail but it’s just one example of this hoary old staple of the journalistic calendar.
It comes round as inevitably as the story that says Easter eggs are over packaged or those calls for big stores to be able to open on Easter Sunday, as they can on any other Sunday, and it really needs a truth-check.
Yes, there are people who take to the trains at Easter (and at Christmas) for family visits or holiday breaks — my team are off to the likes of Leicester and Halifax this weekend and hoping for the best – and delays and difficulties are regrettable.
But isn’t it worth questioning why this work is happening? Asking when would be a better time and acknowledging that investment in infrastructure is a good thing?
The Great Business Debate is aiming to set out the facts and combat myths about what business does and the contribution it makes. We want to talk honestly about the issues that undermine people’s trust in business and having your travel plans thwarted could certainly be one of those issues.
But, investment is something businesses can be proud of. It benefits us all by generating jobs and growth, improves services, products and efficiency. Network Rail alone are investing over £100 million this weekend in track, stations, signalling, power lines for the benefit of future passengers and freight users.
And passenger numbers don’t go up at holiday times they drop, by as much as 40 per cent, because most commuters are not travelling to work. So the timing will never be perfect but companies are actually minimising the numbers of people affected by working now.
Finally, Easter must be also be a good time to point out that Thornton’s have written for The Great Business Debate on their Apprentice-style work with children to design and market a chocolate product. Unwrap their story here.