Northern Rail’s many failures should cost it its franchise

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From: Peter Hall, Windsor Drive, Barnburgh, Doncaster.

THE discussion about HS3 is a diversion from the real train issue In Yorkshire, which is the pitiful state of the trains operated by Northern Rail. We have refurbished stations and rail infrastructure; what we need are decent trains to run on the network (Tom Richmond, The Yorkshire Post, October 27).

I was working in Leeds and travelling by train from Doncaster when the Pacer trains (buses on rails) were introduced as a cheap stop gap 30 years ago and last week I travelled on the same Pacer train from Sheffield to Doncaster.

The train was in a disgusting condition and looked as if it had been pulled in from a scrap yard.

The train was damp and many of the windows were full of condensation between the layers of glass.

At least eight of the triple bus seats had only partial covers revelling the white padding underneath. The toilet wasn’t working and stank badly. The only good thing was the staff.

I have lived and worked in London and travelled on many trains throughout Europe.

This was by far the worst train I have ever been on anywhere, it was like being in some poor Third World country. In comparison the over-ground air conditioned trains around London are another world.

I attempted to use Northern Rail for the Tour de France, which turned into a farce, with trains so crowded that you couldn’t get on, even the drivers complained that Northern Rail would not lease more trains and put on additional services. In the end we abandoned the train and went by car.

Now there is talk of charging more for tickets and refurbishing these trains, which should have been scrapped 20 years ago.

Unfortunately the real problem is the franchise 
system which allows the train operating companies to hold the public to ransom because ultimately we have no choice if we want to travel by train in Yorkshire.

In any other business we have to compete for customers by giving a good product or service. Clearly the owners of Northern Rail must be laughing all the way to the bank at Yorkshire people’s expense.

From a business and leisure standpoint, Yorkshire deserves new trains now.

The Northern Rail franchise should be suspended and if no company is willing to bring in new rolling stock then it should be renationalised.

The great and good of Yorkshire should get their finger out and tell the Government that nothing less will do.