Could Ripon rail link be revived?

Have your say

From: Graham Lund, Glen Rothay Hotel, Rydal, Cumbria.

IT is bizarre that Ripon with a population of over 16,000 inhabitants is not a front runner for funds to reopen its long abandoned rail link to Harrogate and Leeds (Yorkshire Post, January 18).

Since the reshaping of British Rail, there has been a major shift back to rail travel and the major resurgence in commuting in recent years looks set to continue for years.

Where Leeds is an enormously busy work destination, Ripon is able to create inward journeys for education, tourism and some racegoers should swell the rail business after punters leave their cars at home. The loss of a through route to near Pannal, some of whose trackbed still shows on the OS map, means that a reversal would be needed at Harrogate,compounding the shortsightedness of route stripping in the 1960s.

Beyond Ripon, has Thirsk been considered as a junction for this worthy cause for reinstatement? If the land remains to rebuild along this route,it would be shorter than that to Northallerton in a county where land is not cheap!

From: Sandra Stockburn, Bilton Lane, Harrogate.

I WAS intrigued to read “Campaigners call on MPs to restore historic railway link” (Yorkshire Post, January 18) regarding the old Harrogate-Ripon-Northallerton route.

I can only refer to the section near where I live, the Harrogate-Ripon stretch. If memory serves me correctly, the route from Harrogate to Ripon was looked into seriously by a Ripon-based reinstatement society 10 years or more ago.

I don’t know what became of this research but I believe the cost was prohibitive due to houses having been built on the line, bridges demolished and EU restrictions on level crossings which would require additional new bridges.

However, time has moved on, but not, it seems, the Leeds Northern Railway Group, who are clearly not up to date, as there is now a new obstacle to which they seem, strangely, to be oblivious. It is called the Nidderdale Greenway – a hugely popular bridleway/cycle route utilising the old track and Nidd Viaduct. This was opened last year, after a long wait, and funded with considerable lottery, council and Sustrans money. Presumably the re-instatement of the railway would be impossible, as it would face considerable opposition from the thousands who have enjoyed this wonderful leisure facility.

Quite frankly, I am amazed at the group’s ignorance (or arrogance?) in apparently presuming this hard-fought-for amenity can be brushed aside.

From: Earl of Swinton, The Gables, Sledmere, Driffield.

I WAS a regular commuter from Ripon where I lived to Leeds where I worked on this branch line, indeed when it closed it was not possible to do so by car, or park in Leeds, so I had to give up my job (Malcolm Barker, Yorkshire Post, January 18).

However as I recollect this branch line survived the Beeching cuts under the Conservatives, and was closed after Labour had won the election, under Barbara Castle as Minister of Transport.

From: David Davies, Burgess Road, Brigg.

WE are witnessing an undignified struggle by private enterprise to get its hands on the East Coast main line – in accordance with the Government’s avowed intention to privatise everything.

Why is it, then, that these captains of industry are not falling over themselves to invest in HS2? Or more to the point, why does the Government insist that they do so?

Blueprint for democracy

From: Philip Smith, New Walk, Beverley, East Yorkshire.

WHAT a joke that David Blunkett has attacked so-called celebrity commentators for alienating the young from taking part in politics. Whatever the celebrities may have said pales into insignificance compared to what politicians have done over the past few decades to turn the majority of us of all ages off politics.

The system we have in this country is incredibly corrupt and nothing like true democracy. If we believed that more democracy is better democracy we would do the following:

Get rid of the unelected monarchy.

Introduce full proportional representation in all elections.

Have referenda before every election on the top twenty issues in the country and make the party in power obey the will of the people.

Rename and elect the House of Lords.

Expel all politicians automatically from whatever position they hold when they are convicted of a criminal offence.

Get rid of the gravy train of public service pensions and excessive welfare benefits that 
is the main cause of the country’s debt.

Only the politicians can do any of the above, but they won’t because it’s not in their interests to do so. Both Houses of Parliament are stuffed with out of touch, egotistical, “I’m all right Jack” people and change will only happen when it is forced on them. It’s a miracle so many people still vote when – whoever you vote for – the raving loonies always get in.

I do agree with David Blunkett that politicians should not be referred to as donkeys. That would be an insult to donkeys.

Avoiding the real issues

From: David W.Wright, Uppleby, Easingwold, North Yorkshire.

IT is painfully obvious that the recent and ongoing twaddle being preached by David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband is indicative of the decline of the UK and our breed of politicians with their indecisive and out-of-touch ramblings and policies.

Your opinion page (Yorkshire Post, January 17) with the contributions by Grant Woodward, Bill Carmichael and John Redwood have clearly highlighted the problems facing the country, and yet all our so-called leaders do is pontificate and avoid facing our growing problems of a fragile economy, loss of independence to govern ourselves through our abdication of control to the EU, problems of uncontrolled immigration, and growing crime rates.

A major worry emanating from the above problems is the very real possibility of a hung parliament at the next General Election as it is certain that Ukip will gain support from disillusioned Conservatives 
and even some Lib Dems, 
with no new and potential MPs appearing to displace the current bunch of “professional” politicians who have no real practical experience of commerce and industry.

Overall, a serious and ongoing problem for the future of the UK – not a happy prospect!