Railway journey that brought more than was bargained for

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From: Neil Robinson, Trinity Road, Scarborough.

IF you were trapped on a short Northern Rail train journey, your nerves near breaking 
point because of constant foul language plus frequent, deafening, insane laughter 
from two adolescents nearby, what would your response be, 
if any?

Grin and bear it? Move to another carriage?

I tried to make the perpetrators aware of the problem, and met instant aggression, total denial, and self-righteous indignation. They were apparently unaware of the rules of a civilised society.

So when the ticket inspector came past, I told him exactly what had happened. Addressing them as a sorrowing parson might speak to hardened sinners, he told them to behave themselves. And they did – but only while he was in the carriage. As soon as he had gone, their misbehaviour resumed until we reached the terminus. And the baddies lived happily ever after.

A poster displayed inside some Northern Rail trains states “see something, say something”, suggesting that train staff on board be contacted or the Transport Police using a freephone number.

The ticket inspector later told me that they cannot eject nuisance passengers from trains. And Northern Rail, in their reply to my letter, stated that such behaviour “was part and parcel of travelling by public transport” and that the police be contacted to deal with the problem.

Well, if the British Transport Police respond. After all, it is no longer an offence to swear at the police.

I have since checked British Transport Police locations in this region, the nearest (in York) being at least 40 miles away from where this incident took place. Would the police really respond to deal with (what is to them) such a relatively trivial matter on a fast-moving train so far away? But if the police are reluctant to deal with this problem, how much more so this train operator – as the two thugs probably knew.

With its condescending, mealy-mouthed attitude, and cynical indifference regarding Transport Police availability and involvement, Northern Rail apparently regards its passengers as little more than cattle to be transported from A to B: it professes customer goodwill, but if, on the journey, anyone is verbally abused or intimidated in any way, tough luck. Let them call the police.

So before parting with any of your heard-earned cash to travel with this rail operator, beware, you may be buying far more than simply the price of your ticket – all courtesy of Northern Rail.

From: Christopher Todd, Cumberland Road, Leeds.

I READ with interest the news of the success of the Yorkshire firm Optare in placing a contract for electric buses for Nottingham.

That town is now joining Coventry and Milton Keynes in trying out cutting-edge technology as represented by this new ecological form of public transport, while London – with encouragement from the European Union – is running buses using hydrogen fuel cells.

Why are we in north west Leeds still threatened with a very expensive trolleybus scheme? This scheme is far less flexible, will not solve congestion problems, is in danger of reducing the availability of other forms of public transport, and of damaging the environment of our area, through road widening and the felling of an unknown number of mature trees in order to make way for gantries and unsightly overhead wires.

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