I FULLY agree with Geoff Marsden (The Yorkshire Post, January 8) regarding the former Great Central Line. It would have made far more sense, and saved a lot of money off the cost, for the route of HS2 to have roughly followed the course of the Great Central Line.
The environmental impact of this route through the Home Counties would have been considerably less, and the link to Manchester could follow the course of the old Woodhead line, passing through the centre of Sheffield.
There could also be a link from Leeds to join this line around Woodhead Tunnel, which would provide a high-speed route from Leeds to Manchester, HS2 and HS3 sorted!
A link line could then be provided to serve Birmingham, utilising some of the existing lines, which is now what is proposed to serve Sheffield.
Unfortunately the priority for HS2 appears to be to serve Birmingham first, where the savings in journey times will be relatively small compared with existing trains.
Moreover, some of us in Yorkshire are suspicious that if the link to Birmingham is completed first, then that is where it will end.
From: Seb Gordon, Rail Delivery Group.
THIS year, passengers across the North will benefit from the biggest improvement in the railway timetable for a generation, with extra routes better connecting communities across the region which will, in turn, boost the economy.
Train operators make average margins of around three per cent. For every pound received in fares, 97p goes back into running and improving the railway.
For instance, the Virgin East Coast franchise has paid back to Government 20 per cent more on average than when it was operated under the publicly-owned Directly Operated Railways.
Overall, train companies pay more money back to government than they receive. And in an independent EU survey of passenger satisfaction, Britain’s rail service was the most highly rated major network.
Nevertheless, we need to change and do better. That’s why last year the partnership railway of the public and private sectors came together to set out a long-term plan to improve the railway.
With improvements like those mentioned above, this plan will secure £85bn of additional economic benefits for the country, boost local communities with better connections, improve journeys and deliver a brighter future for our people.
From: ME Wright, Harrogate.
THE joy of seeing the back of Chris “Macavity” Grayling from transport was short-lived in the Cabinet reshuffle.
Doesn’t Jo Johnson’s title “Minister of State for Transport and London” make it abundantly clear? Crossrail 2 – or even 3? – no problem. Electrifying the North’s railways – forget it! But will we?
Heads we lose on devolution
From: Hilary Andrews, Leeds.
IS it only me who would like to get all the chiefs of the different Yorkshire authorities and bash their heads together until they realise that they are depriving Yorkshire of money that we could all do with to further our economy as the biggest county in the UK?
They should all work together to make One Yorkshire great (The Yorkshire Post, January 9).
Think outside box on waste
From: John Hein, Montgomery Street, Edinburgh.
AM I being unduly cynical at the support from retailers for compulsory plastic bag charging?
Apart from the few companies who claim to donate this income to charity, the rest will be laughing all the way to the bank!
More to the point, would they allow customers to use the empty cardboard boxes in which products have been delivered to the shop?
My local supermarket used to have piles of these freely available at the checkout and plastic bag use was minimal as a result.
Nowadays, these have to be disposed of by retailers at vast cost – surely far better for them to be taken home and disposed of by customers as domestic waste at no cost to traders?
From: Coun Tim Mickleburgh (Lab), Boulevard Avenue, Grimsby.
I’M still not enthusiastic about making everyone pay for all plastic bags.
For surely if you’re purchasing an expensive new book you need something to put it in?
Or what about fresh meat that’s placed into plastic bags?
Imposing a tax is simply the actions of Government wanting to be seen that they are doing something.
NHS ills could be terminal
From: Hugh Rogers, Messingham Road, Ashby.
IT’S all very well doctors and others saying “something must be done” to cure the ills of the NHS, but beyond begging for more money, I have not heard or seen any constructive suggestions.
Political mischief-making by Labour does not really address the issues involved.
Money alone is not the answer, as we found out under the last Labour government which gave a huge cash injection to the service, only to have it disappear down a large black hole.
Frankly I can’t see the NHS surviving much longer, unless patients can be educated in the sensible use of this, their most valuable (and certainly most expensive) resource.