Check out today’s YEP letters
Last chance saloon for Northern
John Appleyard, Liversedge
I use the railways as they are my favourite mode of transport and I am embarrassed to say it but the network is becoming seriously flawed.
In West Yorkshire we have had a long-running dispute with safety due to management wishing to remove guards from our trains and there seems very little interest in trying to resolve this with the trade unions.
Timetable changes have led to unacceptable delays and cancellations and now rail passengers are to be asked whether we wish to pay more for a better service or less for a worse service.
I agree with Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, when he says train operator Northern is in the last chance saloon and train commuters in the north should get substantial compensation for this fiasco, along with the removal of Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.
Rail passengers in north being badly let down
Mick Whelan, General secretary, ASLEF, the train drivers’ union
I am writing to support your call for the Prime Minister to ‘get a grip’ on the chaos caused to passengers by the new timetable introduced by Northern Rail.
The truth is that Theresa May and the Transport Secretary, referred to these days as ‘Failing Grayling’, are badly letting down passengers in the north of England.
The fault lies with Mr Grayling; the Department for Transport; Network Rail; and Northern Rail, which does not employ enough drivers to deliver the service it promised, in its franchise application, to deliver; and which started training drivers – giving drivers the route knowledge they need – far too late.
It makes a mockery of the idea of a Northern Powerhouse. The lack of investment in rail in the north is an utter disgrace; the north receives £2,555 less per person than London in rail investment each year (£1,600 per person compared with £4,155).
As train drivers, and as a progressive trade union, we believe in a modern railway, fit for passengers, and staff, to help build a better Britain in the 21st century.
Fighting for rail improvements
Celia Loughran, Councillor for Pontefract South
It’s good to see that there have been some increases to rail services from Knottingley and Pontefract.
We now have two trains an hour into Leeds – at long last. But it’s hugely disappointing that some long-awaited promised improvements to service are yet to come into force and, worse, timetabling issues and other last-minute ‘adjustments’ are potentially eating into ground previously thought to be won.
Very disappointingly, services from Baghill on the York and Sheffield line have effectively been made worse.
Let’s face it, there’s loads of discontent throughout the country about rail services. But locally we feel our case is particularly acute.
That’s why councillors have been involved in regular meetings with senior rail managers to push for improvements.
Alongside members of Pontefract Civic Society, including rail expert and enthusiast Peter Cookson, we meet regularly with Northern Rail and Network Rail at West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
At our recent meeting the issue of the stark inequalities in rail provision was aired, in particular how the economic prospects for our area have been, and continue to be, blighted because of lack of vision, lack of investment and poor choices by senior politicians and senior rail personnel, leaving those actually running the services at ground level trying to defend an underfunded and outdated rail system. So, we must remain vigilant and continue to fight our corner to ensure that better decisions are made in the future. Alongside Yvette Cooper MP who recently wrote of her concerns about the pressing issue of local train services, it is imperative to keep an effective conversation alive with train providers and scrutinise both government policy and actions which ultimately determine the quality of our train services.
Greenway will enhance access to countryside
Don Forder, by email
I am a member of the Elmet Greenway Group, and I would like to add to the article about the Greenway which appeared in the YEP on Monday.
The Elmet Greenway will enhance access to the countryside for all. The benefits to health, both mental and physical of access to green spaces are well known.
It will be the only informal public green space accessible to people of limited mobility in Scholes as well as a safe place of recreation for children and a route to schools and shops.
A safe crossing of York Road will be provided which will link footpaths and bridleways on both sides of York Road.
In addition to this, the Elmet Greenway Group is a registered charity.
This will put us in a good position to apply for grants to manage the embankments and verges of the Greenway as a variety of habitats to increase biodiversity.
We intend to include educational information boards along the route as an aid to understanding the natural environment and historical context of the route.
These aspirations are in line with the opportunities outlined by Natural England in their National Character Area Profile, and in line with the Government’s Local Cycling and Walking Development Infrastructure Plan.
Start minimum terms for knife and gun crime
Judy Goodwin, Altofts
As gun and knife crime has reached epidemic status in London with other major cities catching up,is it not time for tough action rather than remaining silent or blaming music?
What if it was brought in that anyone found to be carrying a knife or corrosive substance with no legitimate reason was given 10 years in prison – no less – and anyone carrying a gun 15 years – no less?
We could then flood the streets with stop and searches. Give it a go and see the effect.
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