Letters - Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Northern still haven’t learned their lesson

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 3:45 pm
Northern Rail
Northern Rail

They haven’t learned their lesson have they? (‘Holidaymakers angry over packed carriages’, The Gazette, June 4).

It was six years ago when I travelled for a week on Northern trains from Blackpool North to Chorley return out of necessity. It was a pleasant journey each morning Monday - Friday with at least three or four carriages - but not so on the return journey, which had just two carriages.

On Friday afternoon of that week the train was almost full to capacity from Chorley. I thought, ‘Oh well, lots of passengers will alight at Preston as usual.’ But no, it was Friday afternoon when only a handful got off and more squeezed on to just two carriages.

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Please tell me how Northern work that out!?

That was six years ago, long before coronavirus and now with up-to-date trains and more of them, they still persist in putting on two carriages for commuters’ busiest travel times. They say it is up to customers to social distance and follow guidelines.

On a packed train this is not easy! Not only that but without the aid of guards or conductors (cut backs remember) passengers are left to follow all guidelines and not board a full carriage but wait for the next, then the next, or stay the night in the station! With a full electrified system and an abundance of new trains and carriages, Northern still haven’t got it right!

Clifford Chambers

Blackpool

ENVIRONMENT

Old trees must be protected

I have recently come across this information.

“To replace the leaf area on ONE 100-year-old beech tree, along with carbon capture capacity and its value to the ecosystem, it would require as many as 1,700 young trees, each with a crown diameter of one metre.’

Planting new trees is all very well, but protecting the old ones is far more important.

Across the whole country, where there are new developments it should be written into all contracts/agreements that mature trees on any development should be left, with new buildings planned around them, rather than clearing a site and then planting young trees as a ‘cosmetic afterthought’!

Another idea would be for all golf clubs to organise their members to pay for planting a tree each on the course, which should be done with native UK species and perhaps could be done in conjunction with the Woodland Trust, who might be able to supply them.

John Logan

via email

TRANSPORT

Most expensive trains in Europe

The Government is proposing an overhaul of the rail industry and rebranding it as the Great British Railway.

Yet another admission of a failed Conservative privatisation experiment!

The Conservatives privatised the ‘UK family silver’ including British Rail in the 1980s and 1990s.

These included the sale, at knockdown prices, of many prime city-centre real-estate sites.

UK taxpayers have continued to subsidise the railways since privatisation – £6.4bn in 2017/18 [1], and subsidies to franchise train operators of 5. 7p per passenger mile in 2015/16 [2].

In the 2020 lockdown, with trains running near-empty services, each passenger journey costs the UK taxpayer £100 in subsidies!

Rail fares regulated by the Government rise, on average, by RPI one per cent more each year, making UK rail travel for business commuters the most expensive in Europe [4], for example, commuters travelling between Luton and London St Pancras spend 14 per centof an average wage on a £387 monthly pass; whereas similar routes in France cost £61 (2.4 per cent) and in Italy £62 (3.1 per cent).

The proposed Great British Railway overhaul will not affect private ownership and the rip-off of UK taxpayers and commuters will continue. The few public institutions remaining, i.e., the NHS, state education, the BBC and the independent judiciary, are all under threat from our ideologically driven government.

[1] fullfact.org/economy/how-much-does-the-government-subsidise-railways/

[2] gov.uk/government/publications/rail-subsidy-per-passenger-mile

[3] Rail subsidies costing UK taxpayer £100 per journey in lockdown, Gwyn Topham (The Guardian, 18 June 2020)

[4] Tracking the cost: UK and European rail commuter fares compared – in data, (The Guardian, 6 January 2017).

Tony Jolley

Address supplied

VIRUS

In hindsight

Don’t you just love reading how all these hindsight experts would have coped with this pandemic when they sit in their armchairs criticising everybody’s efforts over a situation never experienced before?

J A King

via email

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