From: The Rev Tim Calow, Chair, Aire Valley Rail Users Group, Embsay, Skipton.
IN her letter, Tina Shingler suggests that passengers would have a better train service if they were angrier (The Yorkshire Post, February 3). She believes that French passengers have a better service because they show their anger. I could not disagree more.
France is about to enter the third month of a national rail strike over the pensions which currently allow many rail staff to retire in their early 50s. Passengers are angry about the cancellations of many of the services. It hasn’t stopped the ongoing strike action.
Even when the strike action finishes, French local train services, outside the Paris area, are generally inferior to those in the UK. Most routes have services only in the peak hours. During the middle of the day there are gaps between train services of three to six hours. Services are often unreliable.
SNCF, the French national rail company, is well known for the disregard for the welfare of passengers. I personally have been stranded for some three hours following the cancellation of my train service across the Pyrenees. The member of staff at the local station just shrugged his shoulders. When a train did appear there was a lengthy argument before we were allowed to board.
Rather, the poor quality of our train service is due to a long term lack of strategic planning and investment. The examples we should look to are the Dutch, Germans and Swiss. These nations have invested in quality rail services. Professional rail staff, who are confident of their future employment, have been flexible over changes to their roles.
I would encourage Tina to focus her anger on her MP, Andrew Jones, who has served as a Transport Minister with specific responsibility for rail policy. Write to him. Alternatively join one of the local organisations campaigning for better rail services.
Passengers who take their anger out on rail staff on the platforms of their local station don’t help anyone.
From: Roy Turner, Hollybank Avenue, Upper Cumberworth, Huddersfield.
THE people supported Boris Johnson, now he should support the people and cancel HS2 (The Yorkshire Post, January 31).
We all know the £100bn now quoted will be beyond that, and the timescale.
The present system, track and rolling stock could be modernised to increase capacity, comfort and maybe travel time, plus save money, though no one will admit to this.