LATE one evening, after seeing a film in Leeds, I caught the train to Cross Gates with my teenage great niece and her friend. The way-past-its-best train stopped at Cross Gates station.
None of the doors in the carriage would open. No surprise there, since we in the North of England are badly served as far as rail transport and much else is concerned.
The train set off. Being in the front carriage, I knocked on the door to the driver’s compartment, loudly enough to be heard. The driver stopped the train. A moment later, the guard came and led we three, and one other passenger, through the train until we found a door that would open.
Returning from an event in Blackpool early one Friday evening, I took my seat on the train. A man, very drunk, came and sat opposite me. He then lay down across the seats and for two minutes slept soundly.
He woke suddenly, appearing startled at finding himself on a train. When asked for his ticket, he was rude to the guard, had a threatening manner and felt in his sock. He produced a role of £20 notes but only offered to pay, as the guard put him off the train at Poulton-le-Fylde, a pretty station where he would be able to admire the flowers while waiting for the next train.
On that same train from Blackpool were two men and a woman high on drugs. One man stabbed the other in the leg.
Perhaps Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary, and Arriva Northern Rail, imagine we live in the world of Brief Encounter, where the worst thing that can happen on the railways is that a posh lady in a nice hat gets a piece of grit in her eye.
We need guards on trains.
Car park cash cow
From: Coun Andrew Carter CBE, Leader of the Conservative Group, Leeds City Council.
I NOTE with interest price increases at Quarry Hill car park in Leeds.
While I understand this is the first increase at this site for a number of years, and that improvements have been made to the car park itself including the lighting and allowing payment by card, I do hope that this is not going to be the start of widespread increases across the board.
We need to ensure a careful balance is struck between recovering costs versus throttling the local economy.
I am concerned, that by raising prices over 40 per cent for a day’s parking, the Labour administration is viewing this site as a cash cow to be milked for all it is worth. Competitive rates for parking encourage shoppers into the city centre, and however much we encourage public transport, most will drive into the city and pay for parking.
We should be thankful for our vibrant, diverse and – most importantly – thriving city centre economy. We must therefore do all we can to protect this asset and make it easy for customers to make the most of it.
Country not county
From: Dennis Marshall, Harewood Road, Collingham, Wetherby.
IAN Smith asks “County or Country?” and says that he has always thought of Yorkshire as ‘God’s own county’ and suspects that ‘God’s own country’ has been coined by non-Tykes, film-makers and dramatists (The Yorkshire Post, October 20).
I disagree. From my birth to now, more than 70 years, I have always known it to be ‘God’s own country’ and have always regarded the ‘county’ option as being used, incorrectly and in their ignorance, by non-Tykes.
‘Country’, in this context, is being used with its meaning of area or region. I was gratified to see, when the recent film was released, that it was titled God’s Own Country. They had obviously done their homework.
From: Terry McLaughlin, Dringhouses, York.
IAN Smith should not need telling that Yorkshire is, always has been and forever will be ‘God’s Own Country’. Yet, due to government interference, it is divided into three areas known as ‘God’s Own Counties’.
He should also understand that Yorkshire, in all its area, is far more beautiful and productive than the Fertile Crescent, therefore the Garden of Eden has nothing on us and being knowledgeable, upstanding clean-living people, Yorkshire folk do not need fruit from a tree to tell us what is right.
Not so green energy tax
From: Judy Goodwin, Altofts.
IT is reported that Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, is looking to impose a hike in green taxes for businesses to wean them off gas and move on to electricity.
Pray does Mr Hammond not know how we get our electricity? It comes from Drax which burns wood pellets from deforestation in Canada and North America. Someone needs to explain to him that trees are the lungs of the world, and the only way it can be called renewable is because you can grow more trees. The fact this takes years appears to have bypassed their brains.
From: Dai Woosnam, Woodrow Park, Scartho, Grimsby.
YOU have to laugh at all this faux outrage by leading exponents of the art of taking offence, such as Yvette Cooper MP (The Yorkshire Post, October 23).
In the Commons, she got to her feet to excoriate the unknown Tory MP who talked metaphorically of “putting the knife” into Theresa May. Come off it, Ms Cooper!
Clearly, like many other MPs you do not have enough work to do. We have long had violent metaphors as part of the most polite language in the highest of circles. Had that Tory said she should “fall on her sword”, you would not have batted an eyelid.