From: JM Dagger, Crakedale Road, Winterton, North Lincolnshire.
THERE have been many discussions about the effect of the high-speed line from London (St Pancras) which crosses Kent to the Channel Tunnel. For some years now, Eurostar have run trains from London to Paris and Brussels.
More recently high-speed non-international trains (HSI) have been running between London (St Pancras) and Ashford taking 40 minutes. This is considerably faster than the trains which run to Ashford from London (Charing Cross), taking over an hour.
One intermediate station on the Charing Cross to Ashford is Tonbridge. The whole line from Charing Cross to Ashford is 56 miles long. Tonbridge lies almost midway between London and Ashford. It is 29 miles from Charing Cross and 27 miles from Ashford. Before the HSI service was introduced, trains from Tonbridge took 35-37 minutes to London and just 22 minutes for the 27 miles to Ashford.
Tonbridge is not served by HSI. It is only served by the original Charing Cross to Ashford service. The passengers would not have minded if the original service, 35 minutes to London and 22 minutes to Ashford was maintained. The timetable, however, has now been revised. Since the commencement of the HSI service, trains now take 41 minutes instead of 35 minutes to Charing Cross and between Tonbridge and Ashford trains now take 37 minutes compared with 22 minutes before HSI was introduced.
This slowing down of trains after the introduction of the nearby high-speed line service (the Tonbridge effect) will upset many passengers in the future who live near but not on the proposed HS2. It is not a realistic option to travel to the nearest HS2 station on a local train to connect with an HS2 train to London when that same station, at present, has an excellent and frequent service to London which does not require getting out of one train so as to board another.
One such town is Doncaster. Many trains, currently, stop at just one station after departure from Doncaster before reaching London (King’s Cross). The 156 mile journey is covered in between 95 minutes and 100 minutes. There are other trains which stop at all the main stations to London. They take much longer. The times are 116 minutes to 124 minutes.
When HS2 is introduced, Doncaster and other principal stations in the Midlands and North of England, which are not on but are near HS2, will end up with slower services with several stops than before the introduction. The Tonbridge effect.
For Doncaster, there will be no longer any trains with one- stop services to London. They will all stop at Retford, Newark, Grantham, Peterborough and Stevenage taking two hours.
Passengers will of course have the option to travel to Meadowhall, the proposed HS2 station nearest to Doncaster, change trains, wait, board an HS2 train which diverges off towards Birmingham before arriving somewhere in London.
Doncaster passengers to London will probably opt to go on the service taking two hours to London (King’s Cross). They will regret not being able to reach London in 100 minutes or less as they now can in 2014. Sadly, fast one-stop trains will have been removed to free up capacity for commuter, regional and extra freight trains.
From: Martyn L Scargill, Chantry Meadows, Kilham, East Yorkshire.
WHEN, I wonder, will the “powers that be” firstly see the incredible stupidity of constructing this high-speed railway line, HS2? It would merely benefit a small minority of the travelling public in any case, while many thousands of people would benefit from the rebuilding of endless miles of track, stations and rolling stock that were mindlessly destroyed during the demented madness of the 1960s when everything of beauty and usefulness was blotted out in an orgy of manic destruction.
I am 100 per cent behind rail transport, but feel that it is entirely mindless to destroy yet more beautiful swathes of our remaining countryside, that has suffered onslaught after onslaught during the last 60 years.
This monstrous white elephant would ruin houses and communities as well as landscape, whilst the restoration of disused lives would benefit everyone, create jobs and help to free the choked-up roads.
Who stands up for us?
From: John Blakey, Park Villas, Leeds.
CAN we please have an anti-business political party? All the political parties are proudly “pro-business”. But what about us the consumers? Who serves our interests? In an era of low interest rates and ever-increasing prices, who represents us? An anti-business party would force businesses to be honest, and ethical, and to supply services and goods on time which work, and to give prompt refunds if anything goes wrong.
It would force call centres to give us £10 if we are held waiting for more than two minutes, it would force businesses to standardise their charges.
Not to mention chargers – it took the EU to make the mobile manufacturers standardise their phone chargers.
Can someone do the same for laptops and other devices? It would eliminate standing charges, and fees for terminating a contract.
It would force banks to display one every screen or statement how much interest they are (or not) paying on our accounts. And explain clearly why they are charging us. It would make energy companies deal fairly and clearly with our energy bills. In short it would change business from being our masters to being our servant. What’s not to like about it?
From: Godfrey Bloom, MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire.
I DID not mock a student with a spine deformity. I made a joke about his looking like Richard III (Yorkshire Post, January 29).
As a member of the Richard III Society, we do not accept that the king had a deformity any more than the student in question with whom I enjoyed a pleasant evening over drinks until late in the evening.