RAIL operator Northern’s managing director David Brown is a disgrace.
He is quoted in The Yorkshire Post, earlier this month, as saying “lower than expected economic growth has had a significant effect on the revenue expected in our original franchise business plan agreed with government back in 2015”.
The fact is that he has had several email interactions with myself over the last few years where I have been complaining (without success) about the hordes of people getting on and off the Sheffield to Huddersfield service without any tickets being issued or checked on a daily basis.
Mr Brown has dismissed my complaints and continues to put my fares up each year (12 per cent for my unregulated fare this year) to cover his lack of management ability and complete contempt to protect my fare from passengers who do not pay.
Arriva should never have been awarded this franchise in the first place. They were an appalling provider during the early Noughties and we had no end of problems with them. Evidently, they haven’t changed!
From: Bob Watson, Baildon.
NORTHERN is to be commended (for a change) for running services on Boxing Day from Bradford Forster Square to Ilkley and Skipton.
Indeed, if our experience is anything to go by, then the numbers carried more than justifies a significant expansion of such services on Boxing Day.
For far too long there have been no rail services on this day in these parts, and one has to hope that a proper service will now become the norm in future years. The demand is surely there.
From: Jarvis Browning, Fadmoor, York.
PART of the problem the Network Rail has is the lack of alternative routes to keep going, when upgrading lines, as they have been ripped up by Dr Beeching.
Had this not happened, we would still be able to get about. With limited routes, no wonder they have to close lines completely at the Christmas period when services are most needed.
Tram trains would be best
From: James Bovington, Church Grove, Horsforth, Leeds.
SO is the Tory government willing to fund a metro system for West Yorkshire? The best system here would be a fully electrified local rail network complemented by a tram system in areas without rail and its backbone would be tunnels shared by trains and trams under the centres of Leeds and Bradford.
Similar metro systems contribute to high quality civic environments in Liverpool, Glasgow and Tyneside where central area tunnels allow passengers direct access to major traffic objectives.
For example, passengers in Newcastle can get off the ‘Metro’ at Monument straight into Eldon Square shopping centre. Manchester plans a capacity enhancing central tunnel for 2040 and plans are advancing in Cambridge and Bristol.
Glasgow plans massive expansion to build the first British provincial rail network similar to the German and Swiss S-Bahn networks in cities of comparable size to Leeds such as Hannover and Zurich.
Tram-trains are flavour of the month. This means that trams share suburban rail tracks but run on street in the central area.
A metro is the reverse in that trams would run on street in the suburbs but share central area rail tunnels with suburban electric trains.
This approach minimises disturbance during construction while allowing relatively high speed and direct links between the main transport locations without having to follow a frequently Victorian street pattern.
Hence lines from Shipley, Ilkley and Harrogate would link to York, Selby and possibly Wetherby via a tunnel connecting destinations such as the former Yorkshire Post site, City Square, Millenium Square, Eastgate and the SouthBank.
The line to Bradford via Pudsey could be converted to tram and connected via the tunnel to surface tram lines to Seacroft and Roundhay.
Demand on lines to Castleford and Pontefract makes them suitable candidates for light rail, perhaps linked to a line to Holt Park via Leeds University and Headingley.
These are suggestions requiring thorough evaluation. However Leeds had ambitious plans to place single deck trams underground which would have been the basis of a modern urban metro.
So will I see such a CrossRail Metro system in my lifetime emulating that of our nation’s capital? I’m calling the Tories’ bluff. Not that Labour has done better – not a single metre of rail track electrified in West Yorkshire under Labour governments.
Let’s be the first area in Britain to develop a fully electrified train and tram network sharing central area rail tunnels in our two major cities.