LETTER: Why we need guards on trains

Late one evening, after seeing a film in Leeds, I caught the train to Cross Gates with my teenage great niece and her friend.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 27th October 2018, 7:00 am

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.