CAROLYN Fairbairn, the director of the CBI, projects huge economic benefits for Yorkshire businesses from the HS2 government project (The Yorkshire Post, May 30), but at what cost to the taxpayer?
If HS2 is to be the great wealth-creator, as envisaged by the CBI and its political and business supporters, then why is this project not being funded by banks and private investors rather than a government (taxpayer) body?
Mrs Thatcher may have done some foolish things while in office but she did ensure that the Channel Tunnel, the biggest infrastructure project of its time, was funded by banks and private investors, thus ensuring no risk to the taxpayer.
She knew full well that government was incapable of controlling the costs of a project of such size and that big business contractors would invariably run rings around incompetent government officials, departments and political ministers resulting in a huge financial burden on the taxpayer. The projected costs of HS2 have already risen from the 2013 estimate of £30bn to well over £80bn – taxpayers should be very worried indeed of the final bill.
From: Paul Brown, Bents Green Road, Sheffield.
REGULAR users of the railways may have noticed that platforms at main stations are of sufficient length to accommodate 12-coach trains. Unfortunately many of our local services are only provided with three or four carriages, and a seat rationing system is imposed to make booking a ticket sufficiently difficult to discourage excess numbers of passengers.
It is only in the London area where trains are provided which are the full length of platforms, and you can just hop on using the Oyster card smart card.
We should not blame the train operating companies for this as it is a political decision to decide how many carriages to buy, what country to order them from and where on the network to allocate their use. It is worth remembering that the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway introduced electric trains in Liverpool in 1903 and Manchester in 1916, so it is understandable that our friends across the Pennines should complain about electric trains being replaced by diesel units which were never designed for high density commuter lines.
Perhaps we need a new Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company to provide the services we had considered necessary over 100 years ago.