YP Letters: How not to run a railway - welcome to the Leeds to Harrogate line

From: Dave Prince, Harrogate.

Rail operator Northern continues to be criticised by readers.
Rail operator Northern continues to be criticised by readers.

RAIL services from Harrogate to Leeds have continued to be really poor since May. I make the trip three times a week and pay £10.60 return before the New Year fare increase.

Delays of 20 minutes-plus are common with trains so overcrowded that people cannot board at Leeds to return to Harrogate. Heading towards Leeds, people are also often unable to board after Pannal.

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The service is often at breaking point during the evening peak. I have had to force my way out of a train at Starbeck as it was so full. This on a line that is now a penalty fare route.

The new class 170 Turbostar units are indeed welcome and a great improvement but are three-carriage only trains and don’t seem to run at rush hour when four or five carriages are needed.

Why are elected representatives not pressurising Northern who are failing to meet their service franchise commitments, rather than claiming everything is okay or remaining silent?

More rail use will reduce road congestion but only if we get extra capacity quickly. We need our elected representatives to step up and at least try and get improvements out of Northern.

I know many who make the trip to Leeds daily by train and feel the same way.

From: Alison Harris, Harrogate.

I HAVE recently returned from a short visit to Bergamo in northern Italy. In order to travel around the city, I purchased a bus ticket for 72 hours which gave me unlimited travel on the urban bus network, including the airport bus and the city’s two funicular railways.

This cost me E7, the equivalent of £6.24, and about the same as a one-way ticket from Harrogate to Leeds on the 36 bus. This year Deutsche Bahn, the German state railway and owner of the franchise which controls Northern, made a profit of E771m.

Have we seen much of this invested in Northern? True, the “cattle trucks” have recently been replaced, but Northern isn’t exactly running smoothly at the moment. Fares will be going up.

No doubt passengers on Northern rail services are helping to keep fares down on German railways but their contribution isn’t benefitting themselves very much. I wonder why we put up with a private rip-off of public service. Let’s take back control.

From: David Smith, Harrogate.

WITHOUT wishing to continue the debate regarding Harrogate’s traffic problems, there are a number of things that I think could be added to the mix.

The problems of course are not peculiar to our town, although we do seem to be amongst the worst. However, when you’re sitting in your car, probably fuming with raised blood pressure, do you think that you are part of the problem?

We keep reading that the majority of our journeys are local so, for goodness sake, do yourself – and everyone else – a favour and find another way to travel.

This isn’t a tricky one – walk, cycle or use public transport. Now I fully understand that this is not possible in all cases, but what a difference could be made if a small percentage of people changed their attitudes.

I am a car owner, but like to think that I use it only when necessary. I realise that I am lucky to be able to do this still, although well over retirement age. So come on folks, get a grip and give it a try while the politicians keep talking.

From: Barry Foster, High Stakesby, Whitby.

THERE is much disquiet about our bus services, or should I say lack of them.

Recent telephone contact with North Yorkshire County Council has brought no response, as has a letter to Arriva.

Additional comments have also been now that our hospital service is being stripped to a minimum and lots have to travel to James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough. What about some consideration to those people who have no car and have to rely on public transport to the hospital? The whole system needs a good look at, with passenger input.

Isn’t it high time Whitby Town Council got themselves behind issues such as these?

From: S Matheson, Wakefield.

TWO thousand years ago the Romans created a network of straight, level roads, many of which survive to this day. Sadly this skill has yet to reach Wakefield Council.

Because of potholes, the roads in Wakefield are death-traps for cyclists and motorcyclists and have been for months. The old excuse is lack of funding, yet there is unlimited resources to spend on speed humps, chicanes and barriers that turn roads into assault courses.

The people in charge should hang their heads in shame.

From: Howard Gesh, Todmorden.

I’VE just read the article about the worst roads in Calderdale.

I thought I’d let you know about the one that’s never mentioned (probably because it’s on the boundary between Yorkshire and Lancashire).

It’s the A681 from Todmorden to Bacup. It’s an absolute disgrace.

The road has been dug up countless times. It has sunk in many places and is too dangerous to drive on. In some places it’s the full width of the road.

I’ve broken three suspension springs on my regular commute to work on this road.

I’m also a motorcyclist, and many times the road has unsteadied me on corners.

Before long there will be a tragic accident on this road unless it’s sorted.