YEP Letters: December 15

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Check out today’s YEP letters

City needs more local rail stations

James Bovington, Horsforth

I am delighted that two new local rail stations are opening on the electrified Airedale line but more are needed such as at Kirkstall Bridge and at South Horsforth/Rodley where a massive new housing development sits adjacent to the line.

The new franchises improving service levels on the Harrogate line are also most welcome and its electrification should be a priority.

The Airedale line is a prime candidate for higher frequency services and should eventually divert into tunnel to serve new stations at Leeds Westgate and Leeds City Square.

It’s a shame that Leeds is promoting road schemes for access to the airport and to the new housing developments in East Leeds where the former Wetherby line could be reopened at least as far as Thorner.

Diversion of long distance services via a chord allowing Leeds York via the the new HS2 would allow Metro style service and frequency in east Leeds.

A new chord through Richmond Hill to the Castleford line would allow a better balance of east west services and reduce the present imbalance with the majority of trains approaching Leeds from the west.

There are also ambitious plans for the redevelopment of Leeds station with the plans for New Lane fortunately abandoned.

However these ideas still concentrate passengers in one location leaving large areas more than a convenient walk from a station. Hence it is disappointing that the recent interim report on the redevelopment of Leeds station does not recommend evaluation of a cross-city rail tunnel with underground stations at key points such as Eastgate and Millenium Square.

For example shoppers at the future Victoria station are more likely to travel by rail if they could get on their train home at a station directly under the centre rather than facing a trek back to the main station. This is the convenience that shoppers at Newcastle’s Eldon Square already have as do citizens of Liverpool and Glasgow where a number of underground stations serve major central destinations. Leeds needs more central stations in order better to disperse passengers and reach the main objectives directly.

It should be possible to link the major traffic generators including the developments on Leeds Southbank including Holbeck Village by a rail tunnel. It might even be possible to remove eventually the eyesore that is the rail line east of Leeds station as far as Marsh Lane. This would greatly improve the visual environment of the city.

What about a competition as to how Leeds should best improve its rail network so as best to propel us genuinely into the league of top ranking European cities?

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Look out for flying pigs

Martin J Phillips, Cookridge

Your headline “City Trains set to be world class” suggests the YEP has a poor memory.

Arriva trains ran the Northern franchise prior to Northern Rail and they were even worse!

As for the new/extra rolling stock and additional services, we have been promised these every year since the railways were privatised, yet most of the rolling stock still pre-dates privatisation.

I have made a note in my diary to watch out for ‘flying pigs’ from April.

Take note Mr Cameron

Melvyne Smart, by email

I have just had a go at Belgian state railways, travelling from Brugge to Oostende and back.

The first thing that impressed me was how clean the trains were. They were also speedy, reliable, punctual, spacious, cheap,all the things our trains are not. They even had wi-fi.

I am also told that German, French and Dutch state railways are just as impressive.

It makes quite a change when foreign governments realise the value of strategic industries like the railways. It is a great pity that the British government cannot run the shambles which is our railways which still run with rolling stock built in the 1980s. Mr Cameron take note.

Concern over roadside ads

Paul C Thompson, Scarcroft

As a rule the placing of signs, banners, vehicles on or near the highway and street furniture, advertising local events without planning permission is strictly forbidden.

These are taken down by council officials and persistent offenders can be prosecuted and fined. The reason given is that they are a ‘distraction to drivers’. This argument falls flat when one sees the amount of council placed advertising signs, many illuminated on street light columns and any spare sites.

One of the worst were the vertical blind type, changing every few minutes, usually alongside traffic lights or roundabouts. Having recently occasion to go through Hunslet on a wet dark afternoon, was amazed to see the latest type of advertising. Huge blinding LED screens, continually changing. Sun visors were needed! I presume these are dimmed at night for safety sake. Although they all will bring income for the city council, it makes a mockery for the ‘driver distracting’ small, temporary community event posters.

Let the nation decide

John E. Downing, Morley

Christine Lagarde says David Cameron is causing uncertainty, Donald Tusk says he is unclear of the UK’s demands, Jean Claude Juncker and Angela Merkel state that the constitution is non-negotiable and the rest of the EU are uniting to block his feeble and humiliated position.

He must take the honourable way forward and let our nation decide what OUR aspirations are in relation to EU once and for all.

How many times does he have to hit his head against a brick wall before he accepts his concept does not and will not succeed?

And we are still paying £55 million a DAY minimum for the privilege.

YEP Letters: June 21