THE dispute between Northern and the RMT over the role of guards on trains is over 18 months long and the consequent disruption to rail travelers across our region is now terrible.
Here is a strike with no apparent winners and three sets of losers: the striking staff, who of course lose badly needed pay; the company – who are hardly popular at the best of times due to a whole series of problems that must put their franchise holding in danger, and most of all, Joe Public, who is heartily sick of our dysfunctional railway system.
Trying to travel over to Manchester from Sheffield by train last Saturday was predictably horrific with other services packed to dangerous levels due to the cancelled Northern trains.
Despite having a reservation, my son had to stand the whole way – not an ideal way to view the Peak District!
Similar disputes with other train operators have been resolved and thus it seems even more absurd that this one rumbles on.
As a former union officer myself, I recognise the importance of the right to strike, but also I have seen many times the harm done by strikes where there can be no winners.
We need a totally different approach to delivering rail services (and to resolving industrial disputes) not this fractured mess.
I suspect that only a unified publicly-owned system, where service and not profit is at the fore, will provide long-term answers.
From: Roger Backhouse, Orchard Road, Upper Poppleton, York.
KEVIN Hollinrake’s speech about the TransPennine Express shambles is welcome, though, like the trains, it comes a bit late (Tom Richmond, The Yorkshire Post, September 15).
I wonder if he has picked up that one cause of the problems affecting the Scarborough line is in his constituency? Malton’s station has two through tracks but only one platform, so trains cannot cross there, adding to delays.
The Department for Transport is also at fault for insisting on a five trains per hour service across the Pennines when the infrastructure is not up to it.
Four longer trains per hour would be much more reliable which is what travellers want.
Adding a second platform at Malton is technically feasible and a sound financial investment, certainly cheaper than the cost of A64 road improvements. But will we see it?
From: Coun Tim Mickleburgh (Lab), Boulevard Avenue, Grimsby.
IT is about time the public transport user got a fair deal, especially when we are supposed to be concerned about the environment.
Under Tony Blair, the cost of motoring fell in real terms with the abolition of the fuel price escalator, and cuts to the Road Fund Licence for most vehicles.
The Tories have kept on freezing petrol duties, with the price of a litre no higher than it was in 2014.
By contrast both bus and rail fares continue to go up by more than the inflation rate, with disatisfaction amongst passengers reaching boiling point in some cases.
So given this background I welcome a rise in petrol duty, especially as it is going towards extra funding for the NHS.
I am not insensitive to rural dwellers, though I wonder how you could devise a system that doesn’t benefit wealthy incomers who move to a village knowing it has bad public transport.
From: Paul Brown, Bents Green Road, Sheffield.
IF the modernisation of the rail lines across the Pennines is likely to cause travel disruption (The Yorkshire Post, September 14), then a plan needs to be put in place to mitigate this problem.
One way would be to build a completely new rail tunnel as an additional route.
A less costly alternative would be to reopen the Woodhead line from Manchester to Penistone, and the connecting lines towards Barnsley, so that a service can be provided from Leeds to Manchester via Wakefield.
From: Nina Smith, Chair, Railfuture Yorkshire branch, Bank Terrace, Hebden Bridge.
THE new Northern “diesel” train (The Yorkshire Post, September 15) clearly has a working pantograph! A much-needed new electric train.
Now all we need is for the Calder Valley, Harrogate, Hull and other Yorkshire routes to be electrified.
From: Thomas Reed, Harrogate.
WHY has no one resigned over all the chaos on the railways? It beggars belief.
Tip charges will backfire
From: Shaun Kavangh, Leeds.
HOW ridiculous are Leeds Council’s charges at waste disposal sites? All LCC is doing is encouraging flytipping.
The council should, at every opportunity, discourage flytipping as the cost to clear the mess will far exceed the revenue gained from their ludicrous penny pinching charges.
Baby of the House
From: ME Wright, Harrogate.
I IMAGINE there was spluttering and a few raised eyebrows when MP Jo Swinson took her baby into a Commons debate (The Yorkshire Post, September 15).
Young Gabriel seems to have behaved himself vocally. Had he decided to give voice, would that not have been more natural than the braying and hee-hawing which usually predominates?
Strictly’s gone too far
From: Peter Hyde, Driffield.
I COULD cope with Strictly Come Dancing if it wasn’t so over the top. The huge pauses between results to build up tension are so long that they lose all sense of meaning. The dancing has now become a series of acrobatic moves. Go back to basics and we’ll all enjoy it better.