The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

Before Parliament (1943-1979)

Mr Major’s Letter to Press – 25 January 1979

Below is the text of Mr Major’s letter to the press on 25th January 1979.


Sir, – Your correspondent Mr Joe Sneden, who is pursuing British Rail with such admirable tenacity, may be assured that I share both his views and his discomforts on the daily (strikes permitting!) commuter rail trek from Huntingdon to Kings Cross and back.

However, he and other commuters may be slightly mollified to learn that I have been assured by the area manager’s office that cash refunds are freely available to season ticket holders in respect of days where no trains run or that extra days may be added (at the commuters choice) to the next season ticket purchased.

I have not yet been able to determine the method of calculation of the cash refund, or obtain confirmation that the extra two days will be working days (rather than a week-end) bit I am pursuing this matter.

As to Mr Sneden’s justified complaints about the arctic temperatures of some carriages, I am pleased to note that the guard on my train this morning (who looked extremely cold, poor chap) did travel from carriage to carriage apologising, and with luck, this is a prelude to action.

However, I am pessimistic about the elastic arrival times of trains at Kings Cross and can only echo the sad and frustrated words of WS Gilbert:

“Sir, Saturday morning although recurring at regular and well – foreseen intervals, always seems to take this railway by surprise”.

So, it seems does snow, fog, ice, points failure, staff shortages, inter-union disputes, unofficial strikes and much else. We must continue to press British rail for better.

John Major, Conservative PPC for Huntingdonshire

The Views, Huntingdon