IF the old proverb is correct that the “road to hell is paved with good intentions”, then the train line to hell must be as well.

An interim report by the rail regulator into the summer timetable chaos warned of a “lack of clarity about roles and responsibilities” and found that no-one took charge of the situation.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) concluded that its own officials and those at the Department for Transport (DfT) failed to sufficiently examine the assurances they received from the industry about the risk of major delays and cancellations

ORR chairman Professor Stephen Glaister, who led the inquiry, says that: “Good intentions and over-optimism within the rail industry about its ability to recover missed deadlines left no time to uncover and fix problems.”

The Government responded by announcing a review of Britain’s railways, taking in accountability, the franchising system and value.

Much maligned Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, who at mid-crisis famously insisted “I don’t run the railways” says he and his department didn’t “ask the difficult questions”. It would appear from the report that they didn’t ask many questions at all.

The overriding conclusion to draw is that the lack of a single entity answerable to passengers for delays and disruption is at the root of the problems. Does the industry have the strong leadership it needs to overcome this? Not at present. And with Mr Grayling at the DfT, there is little confidence that the correct level of scrutiny will ever be applied.