“The Permanent Way”
Written by David Hare, shown at the Playhouse
Reviewed by Sue Hunter
This is a play about the Railways.
In fact, this was an evening of high drama and emotion, about horror
and corruption, terror and tenderness.
The excellent cast draws us into the lives of these people involved in
the train service and its disasters, using humour, compassion and anger.
The Bereaved Widow tells of the corruption of companies and bureaucrats. Not of ‘greased palms’ but of their conspiracy (the politicians, Railtrack, Jarvis) to do nothing: "The response of ordinary people is different." She tells of a taxi driver, who, on learning he was carrying bereaved passengers to a memorial service, turned off his metre saying, "It’s the least I can do." She says, "They know, you see. People know."
On June 24th  Jarvis announced record profits for the year following the Potter’s Bar crash.
Two quotes from the accompanying pamphlet:
"Between 1992 and 1997, the number of workers permanently employed to maintain and renew the infrastructure fell from 31,000 to between 15,000 and 19,000." Ian Jack, who wrote ‘The Crash that Stopped Britain’
"They [the Conservatives] want to replace a comprehensive, co-ordinated national railway network with a hotchpotch of private companies linked together by a gigantic bureaucratic paperchase of contracts – overseen of course by a clutch of Quangos. As the public learn about the chaos and cost, their anger at this folly will grow." Tony Blair, 1995
10 May 2002 Potters Bar: Seven people
have died and over 70 are injured.