Don’t complain too much about Northern Rail services

From: Reg Oliver, Derbyshire.

I would like to respond to the letters from both Francis Catcliffe (Yorkshire Post, October 1) and Christopher Lawson (Yorkshire Post, October 8) regarding train services provided by Northern Rail. I have a little insight as to what is required, and just how hard some personnel at that company work.

Some work from 8am until 8pm, and on returning home are on the (work) computer until 1am. This is of course when they are lucky enough to be at home, as they spend many nights away from home and family.

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They are also “on call” for long periods of time, so therefore cannot drink at all and must be “available at short notice.” Some members of staff also have to take drug tests at regular intervals.

The complaints of the above two persons fall into insignificance when compared to our transport in this area.

We have a bus route that passes through our village to three ex-mining villages.

To travel on this service one has to endure foul language, mobile phone calls that bring everyone into the conversation for the whole journey, screaming children, dogs on the seats, bottles rolling on the floor, takeaway meals and drinks being consumed, loud music from iPods etc, sitting next to someone that hasn’t had a bath or shower since birth, or has been sleeping with dogs (they smell to high heaven) – to name but a few of the unacceptable situations on a regular basis.

Only yesterday did my wife (and others) have to endure indecent language while travelling into town on one of the alternate services. Some buses are also the oldest in the fleet and are no more than bone-shakers.

If one goes early for the bus it arrives late, if one is on time or late then the bus has already gone early or will not arrive.

We do have an option to use another two services, but these serve other ex-mining villages and are not much better than the other service (as above, indecent language). So, no matter which we use, we have an appalling and unacceptable situation.

Perhaps your two correspondents would like to exchange Northern for our excellent modern-day services which we have to endure here?

Considering that Northern has the largest area in the country to operate, and with the number and type of trains that are available to them, the public should realise what an excellent service they have.

One cannot have perfection 100 per cent of the time, and one can only provide the best service possible with the tools provided.

Perhaps your correspondents have nine-to-five jobs and receive their daily meals and bed at home every night, and never consider just what some companies’ operations entail, and the working hours that some have to fulfil to provide the public with their requirements.

By the way, can I inform your complainants that Northern has just received the best rail operator award – which I am sure has been well earned by all.

This has been awarded by the rail industry, who should know a little more about the operations of train companies than your correspondents – who no doubt are savvy with computers and no other realistic requirements of life.