My trip from Thirsk to Leeds was better by car as TransPennine Express fail rail passengers yet again – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Paul Sherwood, South Kilvington, Thirsk.

MATTHEW Golton, the managing director of the TransPennine Express rail service, was quoted in these pages as blaming strikes for the appalling customer satisfaction performance of their operations.

Unfortunately, when Margaret Thatcher tried to annihilate all the troublesome unions that were bringing the country to its knees in the 1970s, the railway unions escaped and have been a thorn in our side for decades.

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The reliability of TransPennine Express rail services continues to be called into question.The reliability of TransPennine Express rail services continues to be called into question.
The reliability of TransPennine Express rail services continues to be called into question.

Unions rant about cutting staffing and conductors – but many modern rail services worldwide don’t even have drivers, and strangely they run efficiently, punctually are clean and generally cheap. So, Golton may have a point, but he made no effort to address other issues blighting his train service in this region.

In March 2020, well before Brexit and Covid excuses, I needed to travel from Thirsk to a meeting in Leeds. The station lets you purchase a ticket, pay to park and then announces the train is cancelled.

I had to go to Leeds last week, now that we are able to attend face-to-face meetings – but I was wary of this dubious ‘public transport’. I went to Thirsk station the previous week, mid afternoon, supposedly open. All locked up and no staff or timetables visible.

I followed this up at Northallerton station two days later, to be told someone had gone home ill and Thirsk station had been closed for three days.

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Matthew Golton is managing director of TransPennine Express.Matthew Golton is managing director of TransPennine Express.
Matthew Golton is managing director of TransPennine Express.

I then asked about current reliability for the 08.59hrs the next day, as it is well known that many TransPennine trains don’t even turn up, never mind being on time.

The truthful response was “well, about 50-50”. I didn’t purchase a £35 return ticket, and contrary to government suggestions about using public transport, I drove to Leeds.

The A1(M) and M1 to a clean efficient Park and Ride took me into Briggate quicker than a somewhat useless train service.

From: Ian Richardson, Beverley.

The quality of rail services to and from Leeds continues to be called into question.The quality of rail services to and from Leeds continues to be called into question.
The quality of rail services to and from Leeds continues to be called into question.

AS a frequent user of rail across our region for the past 40 years, I found myself disagreeing with almost every word written by David Behrens’s ‘Back to normal on the North’s ailing network’ column (The Yorkshire Post, March 12).

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No rail traveller enjoys their train being cancelled, it happened to my daughter and I travelling north from Hull two weeks ago. Yet we understood that nobody was to blame due to the continuing pandemic. He is similarly very unfair to the RMT, their fight to keep guard/conductors on all services is surely right.

Many passengers will only appreciate how important these staff are to their comfort and safety when they are gone. It is fashionable to bemoan how poor our rail services are across the North, often by people who are not regular rail travellers.

Of course there are problems, particularly on commuter routes, but overall given the ridiculous way the franchises operate, services are not at all bad.

Finally, we do not need a leg of the vanity project of HS2 in our area; rather we need to invest in reopening lost routes that should never have closed, such as Woodhead, Beverley to York, Colne to Skipton and Harrogate to Thirsk. Restoring rail connections to places such as Ripon, Barnoldswick, Pocklington and Stamford Bridge is far more important than getting to London 20 minutes quicker.

From: Hilary Andrews, Leeds.

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SO much was expected and promised when Tracy Brabin was elected West Yorkshire Mayor. What a disappointment so far, in particular the appointment of a Head of Press using £63,000 of public funds. More crazy is the suggestion of another £63,000 for a Head of Passenger Experience (Tom Richmond, The Yorkshire Post, March 12).

No need to spend our hard- earned money on this vanity project, Tracy, just ask any pensioner relying on public transport to get them to hospital, GP, dental appointments or even to the shops to get food. Any one of them will tell you exactly what the passenger experience is anywhere in West Yorkshire. Just do something about it!

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