When you see words likes “£41m”, “improvements” and “positive impact” attached to a story, it has got to be only good news. Hasn’t it?
That is certainly the way the Government’s multi-million pound investment in rail services was portrayed for commuters in Lichfield.
And on the face of it increased capacity on London Midland’s services that run through Lichfield’s stations does sound like good news.
Yet as most of those increased services will be passing through Lichfield Trent Valley the positive impact diminishes somewhat.
Facilities at LTV are best described as outdated, but the major problem continues to be access – back in 2009 local MP Michael Fabricant told LichfieldLive he was stepping up his efforts to get facilities improved.
But three years on and in spite of the £41m investment programme, access continues to be denied for many potential train passengers at LTV.
It would certainly be off-limits for Rachel and I if we chose to travel down to London by train (something we are considering in order to visit an exhibition) as negotiating the two long sets of steps to get to the correct platform with wheelchair and bags would be two long sets of steps too far.
As with so many Government announcements these days (and this was equally true with the last Labour administration), the superficial headlines do make a “positive impact”.
But once you start reading on and understanding the announcement – and more importantly the context it is made in – the negatives often start to outweigh the positives.
So increased capacity for a train station that most users, whatever their mobility status, dislike intensely is no longer such a good news story.
When millions are being invested, yet basic facilities and basic access improvements are being ignored, then is that money well spent?