WITH Brexit dominating the political landscape, very little else gets much attention. One key thing that does need urgently addressing is the lamentable state of our railways.
I am a rail lover and frequent user. In recent weeks, for example, I have used the Caledonian Sleeper service from Euston to Inverness, Cross Country from Bristol to Sheffield, TransPennine from Manchester to Hull and regularly taken the Northern services that run from my local station of Beverley.
I have also used no less than four different companies to travel from Yorkshire down to London. Therein lies the problem, a plethora of franchises, some far better than others for sure, but the whole network suffering from lack of integration and companies that come and go like the wind.
The problems in recent days due to the power failures cannot of course be blamed on the rail companies, but the lack of a co-ordinated response to the agonies of rail passengers was lamentable. Rail is far too important to be run in this way. It shames us, particularly when compared with rail travel on the national networks of our near neighbours such as Belgium and the quite magnificent Swiss state system.
Until service and not quick profits is the central feature of our railways and until they go back into public ownership, we will continue to have a disjointed and dysfunctional system that regularly lets us down.
From: ME Wright, Harrogate.
MANY thanks to David Behrens for his illumination of the “dead battery of Transport for the North” et al (The Yorkshire Post, August 10). What David doesn’t reveal is the extent to which his “experts in going nowhere” go anywhere, on their quaintly named ‘public transport’. I suspect that sort of information is not easily wormed out of them!
Once, most local transport was council-run. Services weren’t up to mainland European standards, but they were available and affordable. Then came the free-for-all of deregulation. This saw Harrogate’s ‘West Yorkshire’ bus station seized by developers.
They caused further chaos by expelling the buses onto the streets, intent on building shops on the site. A long and complex wrangle with the council ensued. Eventually the present bus station was built and the shops weren’t. The expensive services vary and continue to be constrained by mindless bleats of “competition” from Westminster. Some routes have been competed out of existence or are on an uncertain footing. A familiar saga throughout the UK?
An affordable, integrated, rail and road transport network, organised for the benefit of passengers and the wider national interest appears to be unfathomable “rocket science” for those in charge. David mentioned “knocking heads together” – but not yet hard enough!