YP Letters: UK’s poisoned chalice of rail transport

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.
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From: Hugh Rogers, Messingham Road, Ashby.

IN the Civil Service, we used to have a saying that there were only two really bad things that could happen to you. Dying was one, the other was that you would be seconded to the Ministry of Transport. No prizes for guessing which was considered the worst.

Becoming Transport Minister was regarded in political circles as almost as thankless a task as being appointed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. It felt like a punishment – you weren’t expected to do well, so you tried not to disappoint your critics.

Transport Secretaries are therefore losers, almost by definition. There are just too many conflicting interests for anyone holding that poisoned chalice to enjoy any sort of popularity, let alone have an intimate working knowledge of the Morecambe Bay train timetables (The Yorkshire Post, April 6)!

Being a convenient Aunt Sally for everyone with a transport grievance goes, as they say, with the territory. So don’t be too hard on Chris Grayling. He’s only the Transport Minister, for goodness sake, so it’s not really his fault.

From: Gerry Vincent, Poole Lane, Burton Salmon, Leeds.

I WAS bemused to read that the steam locomotive enthusiasts are trying to raise funds to build another new train.

Millions of pounds have already been spent on the Tornado and the Royal Scot, and although they may look impressive, represent a technology that was out of date 100 years ago.

May I suggest to these good folk that they send their money to Alzheimers Research UK? Dementia is now the number one killer in the UK and, as we live longer, more people are affected. It is estimated that 50,000 already have it. There is no cure yet, and the NHS are no help.

Forget about steam puff-puffs.

From: TE Manton, Cambridge Street, Otley.

REGARDING TransPennine Express rail services, we are going to get a new service three minutes quicker which will be wasted by diverting into the aptly named Victoria station which they left 30-odd years ago to the modern Piccadilly.

As I stated years ago, all that is required is more coaches on the existing trains including a ‘silent’ coach to cut out passengers having to listen to rubbish. As for executive travellers, their destination is more likely to be Manchester’s third station Oxford Road.

From: ME Wright, Harrogate.

TOM Richmond highlights the likely £13bn a year cost of Jeremy Corbyn’s free bus passes for the under-25s (The Yorkshire Post, April 14).

I recently unearthed a 1950s Leeds school pass which allowed one daily free return trip across the city. Then, the effective and affordable public transport was owned and run by the city for, as the term implies, the benefit of the public. Presumably the theoretical cost of that pass would have been dealt with by moving numbers from one column to another, to satisfy statisticians.

Today, throughout the country, as both fare and taxpayers, we end up sending large cheques to privateer ‘providers’ to fund the self-serving lifestyles of shareholders. Somehow, those distant, tempting, privatisation promises – better services, lower costs – haven’t come to fruition. Time for a rethink perhaps?

From: Tim Mickleburgh, Boulevard Avenue, Grimsby.

WE do need better transport links to our local seaside resorts (The Yorkshire Post, April 14).

The priority for me however is not new roads, but making better use of the railways that already exist and have been allowed to become run down over the years.

Alas the Government seems hell-bent on spending more in London and the South, where Parliament and the Civil Service is based.

Blame media for violence

From: Edward Grainger, Botany Way, Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough.

THE letter from Basil Smith of Holmbridge (The Yorkshire Post, April 9) on the media obsession with bad news, rather than positive news that “reflects an every increasing violent society”, might well be true.

However, journalists and broadcasters have long been paid and encouraged to report what unfortunately the public want i.e. salacious stories and in today’s disturbing times varying scales of national and international atrocities and wrongdoing.

It was newsreader Martyn Lewis who became ever more disillusioned when having to bring to us on our screens any number of items of bad news and disasters, so much so that during his time in the spotlight he advocated a separate TV channel reporting exclusively on good news from Britain and around the world.

So we are stuck with having to endure bad news and in Donald Trump’s words “fake news”, with the only course of action open to us viewers and listeners being to “switch off if easily offended” which, of course, is the last thing the programme-makers want.

Broken UK

From: Tarquin Holman, Marsden Court, Farsley.

CAN I please ask what has happened to our once beautiful country? NHS in crisis, crime, potholes and footpaths in a dangerous state. Even our songbirds are in decline in our once green and pleasant land. I wonder if the May elections will help solve this very sorry state of affairs. Let’s hope so!

Credit to BBC

From: Godfrey Bloom, Wressle, Selby.

CONDOLENCES to Len Tingle’s family (The Yorkshire Post, April 14). Always fair, always cheerful, always balanced. A credit to BBC regional broadcasting. Light years ahead of their overpaid national colleagues.