Posted 15th August 2019 | No Comments

15 August: news in brief

Man who blocked Eurostar services is jailed

A MAN from north London who staged a solitary protest over Brexit and the police by climbing on to a railway tunnel near St Pancras International has been jailed for a year. Terry Maher, 44, of Cubitt Street in London WC1, clambered on to the tunnel with a St George’s flag, power banks for his phone and warm clothing, and stayed in what police described as ‘the extremely hazardous area’ for 13 hours on 29 and 30 March this year. Services on HS1 were suspended, and altogether 88 trains were cancelled. British Transport Police estimated that 22,000 passengers had their journeys disrupted, including those travelling to the continent, who were stranded in London overnight, and also evening commuters trying to get home to Kent. The cost of the disruption has been put at £1 million. Maher was found guilty of malicious obstruction of the railway and was sentenced to one year in jail at Blackfriars Crown Court. Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Dean Percival said: ‘This has been described as the single most expensive incident in the history of high-speed railway in Britain. However, not only did it cost the rail industry, it also cost thousands of commuters and holiday-makers their time, significantly delaying their journeys and leaving them stranded at stations desperate for the situation to be resolved.’

Mayors call for special fund for north

CITY mayors and other politicians in the north of England are calling on the government to create a budget specifically for transport schemes in the region. The 19 leaders, who are on the board of Transport for the North, are being backed by Labour. TfN says the budget would include £39 billion to build the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ rail network by 2040, and that this would be the ‘bare minimum’ needed to catch up from many years of under-investment when compared with south east England.