Dark shadows lurked in the sidings as Network Rail announced a multibillion-pound plan to improve train infrastructure today on the back of inflation-busting fare rises.
Its 2014-19 business plan will see £37.5 billion of spending to cope with 225 million more passengers than at present.
Electrifying 1,000 miles of track and spending hundreds of millions on big station redevelopments should result in thousands more commuter seats and hundreds more trains.
But Network Rail, which owns the tracks and infrastructure, admitted that commuters will have to continue to cough up above inflation fare rises to help fund the investment.
The figure is based on fare rises of RPI plus 1 per cent.
The public subsidy to the railways is proposed to fall from £4.5bn in 2009 to as little as £2.6bn in 2019.
NR chief executive Sir David Higgins said the industry needs to cut costs and is in "the era of trade-offs."
The Office of Rail Regulation has final say over the plans, promising to carry out a "rigorous assessment" and public consultation.
But in the background are recommendations from the review by Sir Roy McNulty which threaten thousands of non-driver jobs and the future of some ticket offices.
Network Rail is looking to shed nearly 4,000 more jobs in the period.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "You cannot seriously expect to safely increase capacity while at the same time the government is looking to axe key frontline staff on trains, track and stations.
"It would make far more sense now if Network Rail was given the opportunity to take over rail routes and to run them in the public interest as a public service."
And TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: "Passengers have already suffered enough pain with a decade of annual-inflation-plus fare increases. They have been persecuted enough already."
Buried in the plan is the reopening of 31 miles of railways in Scotland closed under the Beeching cuts 50 years ago.
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.
Donate to the Fighting Fund here
Official inflation figures understate the real extent of rising costs, but even the government's own CPI scheme lays bare the ongoing misery for working people and those dependent on benefits.
The Con-Dems have had it their way too long. We have to turn this country around
How high-quality primary schooling could help solve global poverty