YP Letters: How I was left paying a high price for our failing railways

From: Michael J Robinson, Park Lane, Berry Brow, Huddersfield.

Train operator Northern's customer service has again come in for criticism.

ONCE a week, on a Sunday morning, a Northern train is scheduled to run from Blackburn via Hellifield, to Carlisle.

Before I set off to Blackburn to catch this train, I checked that it was set to run as scheduled. It was.

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I was dropped off at Blackburn station at 9am and entered the station building to see the destinations board showing that the 09.28 service was ‘cancelled’.

I was told by the station staff that the train had been cancelled at 8.30am as the driver had failed to turn up.

There was no other train which could have taken me further than Clitheroe that day.

I had no alternative but to pay £51 for a taxi from the station rank to Hellifield.

I sent a claim to Northern for re-imbursement of the taxi fare, as it was their late cancellation of their scheduled service which put me in the position of either walking to Hellifield or paying for the taxi.

Northern has refused to pay me for the taxi because my intention to pay the train fare at Blackburn station meant that I was not in possession of a ticket when the train was cancelled.

Without a ticket, I was told that “there is no proof you was (sic) intending to travel on our train”, and that “unfortunately there is nothing we can do”.

Northern’s customer complaints manager told me that “as you had no ticket that would be the only contract we have with you to confirm you was (sic) intending to travel on that day on that specific train”. I would have thought that prevention of exposure of this short-sighted adherence to contract law, would have been well worth reducing by a mere £51, whatever costs were saved by the cancellation of that train.

From: Mel Smart, Farsley.

THE rail dispute on Northern has gone on far too long. Does no one know about ACAS and arbitration? This is the way to solve it.

There must be a second person on the train. What their designation is is neither here nor there. Safety must be the first concern.

Firstly, should anything happen to the driver, who would report it? Secondly, how would the disabled and partially sighted be able to board the train? Not to mention the vandalism on an unmanned train. And what of safety to women and girls, particularly after dark? The Transport Secretary should have had all these matters in hand months ago. Not for nothing is he known as Failing Grayling.