Danger for the passengers packed on train

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From: B Precious, New Village Road, Cottingham, East Yorkshire.

REGARDING your letters (Yorkshire Post, December 17) on the quality of local rail services, last Saturday, my wife and I travelled from Cottingham to Leeds to meet relatives and exchange Christmas gifts.

The Northern Rail service was already full when it left Paragon Station, Hull. It then picked up a crowded platform of people at Brough before arriving at Selby where further crowds struggled to join the train.

The train was packed with people standing and sitting in every space available. The conductor apologised for the crush and offered the use of the first class compartment to those standing (these seats had already been taken by the crushed passengers)!

The horrific journey made me think about the consequences of an accident in those conditions. Buses and coaches have notices which state the number of seated and standing passengers allowed.

Is there a limit to the number of passengers on a train? I would be interested to hear from Northern Rail’s health and safety spokesperson.

End march of superstores

From: David W Wright, Easingwold, North Yorkshire.

THE letters from Brian Madderson (Yorkshire Post, December 6) highlighting the problems of supermarket power with particular reference to Malton is further enhanced by the feature admirably supported by Simon Howard and Selina Scott in the same edition of the Yorkshire Post.

But further down the road a similar battle is being waged by the residents and traders of Easingwold who are similarly being faced with a proposed supermarket development on land which is owned by Hambleton District Council and NYCC who, like Ryedale District Council, are desperate to raise finance to fund their ever growing expenditure and empire-building.

There surely must be a limit to the number of supermarkets that can be justified, particularly in market towns where there is already a wide range of excellent businesses serving the community. It is time to stop the rot.

Handy way to hygiene

From: Mrs P Malin, Meadowfield Drive, Hoyland, Barnsley.

FURTHER to recent correspondence, one of the first things my mother taught me when I was a little girl (I am now 86) was to wash my hands after going to the toilet.

Since then, it became as automatic to do that as it is now to fasten my seat belt on entering a car. But over the years I have noticed that a lot of people don’t.

The recent correspondence reminded me of something a woman told me whose husband worked for a health and hygiene department at the local council.

She said they had to test the dishes of crisps and peanuts offered to customers of pubs and bars and the number of germs and bacteria left after customers visiting the toilet and then returning to their drinks, found, after plunging their hands into the free nibbles! Needless, to say I avoid them like the plague.

While on the subject of hygiene, I cringe when watching cookery programmes on TV, to see women with long hair swinging from their shoulders in front of their eyes, and then leaning over a bowl to rub the fat into flour to make pastry.

Why can’t they tie their hair back? A hair found in my food is another of my horrors!

Broken system of social care

From: Mike Padgham, Chair, Independent Care Group (York and North Yorkshire), Eastway, Scarborough.

IF reports that reform of social care funding is to be put back until 2025 are true, then that is one pre-Christmas present that can go straight back to the shop!

On the one hand, the Government is reaffirming its commitment to social care reform in a White Paper in the spring. But on the other, its main advisers are saying that key elements of reform might not come in for another 14 years.

The system is broken now. Social care is under-funded, people are going without care and care businesses are going to the wall today.

If reforms proposed by Dilnot are kicked into the long grass once again – as similar reform proposals have been in the past – then it will be a betrayal of the older and vulnerable people who have a right to expect better.

Europe’s realities

From: Coun Robert Barnard, Hornes Lane, Staincross, Barnsley.

MR Taggart’s mythical time-traveller (Yorkshire Post, December 16), has clearly slipped into some alternate reality, given the inaccuracies in his log.

There was no invitation for the UK to join the eurozone at the recent EU summit, the whole purpose of which was to address the sovereign debt crisis in those eurozone countries which have borrowed excessively since adopting the euro.

If Mr Taggart’s time-traveller had considered why Chancellor Merkel is so determined to keep the euro in use, he would have known that it affords German industry an artificially low exchange rate – thus enabling them to export manufactured goods, and with them their unemployment, to other countries in the EU.

In any case, the summit of December 9 sought to prevent another financial crisis being brought about by eurozone countries but did nothing to resolve their current difficulties.

Whether the other states will ever agree anything meaningful is yet to be seen, but the omens are not good.