The time is over. Today, Northern must withdraw its railway franchise and, for passengers, this cannot happen quickly enough – train travel in northern England must come with a health warning.
It is not exclusive to the north, but the combination of poor management, chronic low investment and a miserable passenger experience has become a joke among Northern users.
It's not just a funny joke.
People are stressed, confused and angry – train delays must be a minor inconvenience, but in the north they have become the norm.
Passengers say train delays have become the norm in northern England
Shortages of drivers, machines with defective tickets, trains canceled without notice, insufficient carriages in the main transport services, broken seats and not enough of the shiny new trains.
And most symbolically of all … they still perform some services with Pacer trains that offer a glimpse into how most of the passengers' grandparents would have traveled.
They are old buses converted into trains and simply do not cut when we live in an era of artificial intelligence and driverless cars.
People don't want retro, they want confidence.
As we were traveling through the chain last weekend, a ticket clerk told me "this is the worst that has ever happened". I was talking to her because the two new ticket machines that I tried to use failed to sell me a ticket.
The price they quoted was almost twice what the lady at the box office charged me.
In Wakefield, we met a former railroad guard who gave us dozens of reasons why the most recent company to manage the service failed to even route the team.
It also reminded me that there was a time when the previous Northern Rail operator was doing very well.
But the rot started long before Arriva took control of the network in 2016.
The daily flurry of angry passengers led this former guard to "collapse".
There is a human number of gross inefficiency.
Not that everything is due to the north.
The government trumpets its decision to withdraw the franchise according to the concerns of voters in the north, but the problems go far beyond that operator.
There are other poor train operators in the north of England.
Rail infrastructure upgrades have been halted due to years of delays in central government funding.
Yes …. years late!
If you do not have the railway properly configured, it is almost impossible to provide good reliable service.
The north has also suffered because express trains (run by other operators) that connect major cities generally have priority on the lines.
Later, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is expected to remove the Northern franchise and could nationalize the service in the short term.
Changing your mind is a job and a half, but it is only part of the solution to UK connectivity problems.