Letters - October 2, 2017

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Getting nowhere fast with commuter woe

Who runs Northern Rail? Because whoever it is needs lessons on how to successfully run a railway company.

A lot of commuters rely on the early morning Blackpool to Manchester trains and early evening returns to get to and from work.

However, these trains are invariably late, or even cancelled (not enough drivers being the excuse for cancellations). There are insufficient carriages to cater for all the passengers, people are left on platforms.

On Friday, September 15, on the train that left Salford Station at 4.30pm destined for Blackpool, four drunken louts boarded the train at Preston. They continued to drink cans of alcohol and one openly smoked an E cigarette - intimidating passengers in their carriage. Where was the guard? Hiding in his bolt hole and not seen for the whole journey, as is usually the case? Where are the no smoking/no alcohol signs? The rail men are apparently going on strike, yet again, for two days next month, because Northern Rail want to do away with the guards.

I agree that guards are needed on trains, but I thought a guard’s duty was to look to the safety of the train and its passengers and to make his presence felt.

If you make a genuine mistake and purchase the wrong ticket from a machine, don’t expect a full refund, because this company withhold £10 of your money for their trouble - what good customer service.

On top of all this, the Blackpool to Preston line is closing in November for 19 weeks to allow electrification of the line to take place; yet apparently the Northern Rail company only has one electric engine. How are commuters supposed to get to their jobs when the government are constantly asking people not to use their cars?

Sandra Bowman

Laurel Drive


Memories of an unlikely couple

Re Gazette Jayne Dawson (Saturday, September 23). This article brought back memories of the early 1950s. A six penny charge at public baths for a bath with hot and cold running water. We called them slipper baths in Yorkshire, I don’t know why.

There are other memories of the good-old-days “twaddle”, as Jayne called it. We had for a while a one-armed knocker-up with a long pole to rattle the bedroom windows.

His name was Dowdy Watson, a true character. He lost his arm in a pit accident and also played rugby for Batley, West Yorkshire.

Dowdy was 6ft tall, he shared a house with a small 5ft man, Billy Smith, an unlikely couple.

They often fell out. When this occurred Billy would not slice the bread for Dowdy, he had to take it next door for Mrs Mulldowny to slice.

In return Dowdy would not put a penny in the gas meter, it was out of reach for Billy... so Mrs Mulldowny to the rescue.

I’m surprised they never appeared on Coronation Street.

Kevin Gooder

Clinton Avenue


Peers are the real benefits cheats

So now we all know who the real benefit cheats are.

It’s not the out-of-work chap living on a sink estate who does a bit of work for cash to supplement his benefits, nor the single mum who moonlights down the local pub.

No, it’s the unelected, ermine-clad Lords who turn up every day, claim their £300 House of Lords attendance allowance and then retire to fill their faces at the subsidised restaurant, quaff a few glasses of the finest, have a sleep in leather armchairs, then after a few hours wake up to make judgment on the rest of society and tell us how we should live our lives.

Sounds like great work if you can get it. When can I start?

Harry Brooke

Via email


People are ignorant with smartphones

If you go back far enough, you’ll remember when you’d sit on a bus/train talking to your friends or even strangers when there would be this horrible music followed by somebody shouting at the top of their voice “I am on the bus/train”.

They would soon find themselves at the mercy of their fellow passengers.

Somehow it always went very quiet.

The cause of this trouble for those of you who have never experienced this were called mobile phones.

Sadly, these disappeared many years ago.

Ironically many of those who did the threatening would say: “You’d have to pay me to have one”.

As the years go by, there are few who have kept their word.

The replacements to the mobile phones are nothing short of unbelievable.

Most people will see them not so much as ‘must-haves’ as ‘I cannot survive without one’.

These handheld boxes have become almost replacement brains.

The effect they have had has come at a terrible cost, not just financially but in the way people now live their lives. Many dare not leave their homes or even go to bed without them.

The reason for this is they are mini-computers.

People nowadays have become increasingly more ignorant. When was the last time anyone said hello to you on a train? In my experience, they just sit down, get out one of those infernal contraptions and cover the table.

This is only to be expected as people simply do not speak to each other anymore, they would rather text.

Many years ago, Gary Numan wrote a song called ‘Are Friends Electric?’

He could never have known it, but there are indeed more people who have electric friends whom they never actually see or ever speak to.

This is of course due to the internet (Facebook).

I live in hope (although not in hatred) that one day all this will end and we will get back human beings and not the androids many have become.

Steve Roberts

Address supplied