DAVID Behrens’ pessimistic view of the future of rail (The Yorkshire Post May 29) must be challenged.
Of course commuter station car parks are not often full right now – those of us who could stayed at home as instructed and continue to do so until restrictions are lifted, hopefully towards the end of this month.
But it is simply wrong to state there is no compelling reason for passengers to return.
I strongly believe we have every reason to be enormously optimistic about the future of rail. Yes, it’s been a very challenging year and we have a lot of work ahead of us.
But the challenges of the past year have shown what we can achieve when we all work together as an industry – and that forms the very foundation of the rail reforms announced last week.
We know what passengers want – a reliable, safe service, simple ticketing, value for money – and by coming together we can achieve that. We will welcome people back to rail. We may see fewer everyday commuters and more leisure travellers, but our need to connect with friends and family, to get goods to market, is already returning and that’s why investment in the railway continues.
In particular, the investment to upgrade the Transpennine Route will mean not only faster and more reliable journeys but greener journeys too, with the first electrification masts already in the ground in Yorkshire.
Significant investment in the Kirklees area will, subject to legal consent, not only include electrification but will double the number of tracks to significantly increase the capacity of the line.
And, as of this week, those parking spaces you refer to at Leeds now have 56 new electric vehicle charging points ready to welcome passengers back and support our vision for a low-emission railway.
All that supports the arrival over the past few years of new, modern trains for train operators across the North which have already significantly improved the passenger experience.
So don’t write off train travel, David. Rail has much to offer – it is clean, green, safe, convenient and a huge driver of economic growth.
We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make it fit for our new future and the whole industry is seizing that.
We look forward to welcoming you and Mrs Behrens on board.
So sit back and enjoy the view from the (clean) window as you comfortably, safely, punctually, cross the Pennines to see your son.
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