Readers' letters - January 16
Many reasons for city tram system
I observe that transport critic Stephen Palmer (LP Letters, January 10) invites the casual reader to extol the benefits – if any – of Preston’s embryonic tram system. Where shall I start and, just as importantly, how long have you got?
Firstly, of course Preston needs a tram system and, by utilising an existing if moribund track bed (the disused Longridge Branch), half the proposed route is already ordained. The potential for passenger management along this ‘corridor’, not least for travelling football fans, is surely reason enough.
By extending the route along Church Street and through Fishergate, you connect the two major transport hubs – railway station and bus station. Electric buses would be of no more use than the present vehicles. Trams would have their own right-of-way and their very presence would ensure the tracks were kept traffic-free. Moreover, tram and bus services could be integrated and a rapid transit system developed to deal with handling Preston’s burgeoning population.
Several feasibility studies have been carried out over the years to assess the viability of re-opening old railway stations primarily along the secondary lines radiating out of Preston. These could easily be served by trams operating as a Light Railway Network.
The original Preston Corporation Tramway – ten and a half miles of it – ran as an electric concern for 31 years, 1904 -1935, and had the opportunity to be part of a much grander all-electric system that would ultimately link Manchester to Blackpool.
Unfortunately this scheme came to nought, but how ironic that we in the North West have had to wait over 80 years for this idea to become a reality, albeit by a somewhat less circuitous route!
Finally, I would refer Stephen Palmer to The Tramways of North Lancashire, a Light Rail Transit Publication which shows how the tramway covered Preston and many other towns in our county. The authors state: “Preston can also claim to be the home of the tramcar ... the famous English Electric Dick Kerr works.... where an estimated 8350 tramcars were constructed over the years...” I, for one, keenly anticipate a tram ride into town and particularly seeing the rails, either side of the Skeffington Road crossing, again polished to a high lustre instead of hidden of boskage and rubbish. Will it happen in my lifetime? Yes, I think it probably will!
The Grim-Tsar of Grimsargh
Nationalisation isn’t the answer
I can’t allow the letter from Coun Whittaker (LP Letters, January 12)to go unchallenged.
There are a great many problems and challenges with our railway network (yes, including fares) that still need to be addressed but it is clear that a Labour Government and nationalisation is not the answer and never can be.
Overcrowding is a result of the success of privatisation as anyone who regularly uses the railway can testify.
It’s not very long ago, for example, that popular three- car diesel units on the Manchester/Scotland route were replaced by brand new four- car electric units.
In our part of the world, rail travel has especially been transformed under this Government and in the next 18 months will be even better.
Consider some of the changes in recent years:
1. Electric trains to Liverpool and Manchester Airport.
2. Completion of electrification to Manchester via Chorley and Bolton and Blackpool later this year.
3. More trains to Scotland.
4. 98 new trains for Northern on order to start delivery in October this year.
5. New, even longer, trains for TransPennine Express to serve Manchester (and Liverpool) to Scotland should start being delivered in around 12 months time. This really should be acknowledged and welcomed by Coun Whittaker.
6. Work on HS2 has started which will have major benefits for our city region.
One of the major downsides to nationalisation, of course, is the power it gives to the unions.
Anyone who believes it would be used responsibly is extremely naive.
Railway history shows that consideration for rail users is way down union priorities and a nationalised railway would simply be unable to both meet union demands and reduce fares.
Coun Neil Cartwright
Examples of being PC
I was interested in the letter from Mr John Prance regarding political correctness (LP Letters, January 12).
Mr Prance seems to be a champion of P.C. so I thought he might be pleased if I provided a couple of examples.
A ten-year-old boy was allowed to drown in a pond, despite the presence of two Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). They did not attempt a rescue because, said a police spokesman, they were “not trained to deal with such an incident”.
PCSO training does include “race and diversity” and “health, safety and welfare”. But not anything that might actually enable them to perform any kind of useful public service, apparently.
Example 2. A woman was stunned when her job advert for ‘reliable’ and ‘hard-working’ applicants was rejected by the job centre as it could be offensive to unreliable and lazy people.
Political correctness has not gone mad, it has been insane since its conception.
Mr G Marlow
Footpaths not finished yet
I can’t believe Preston Council is onto its next stage of work in the city.
They need to finish the footpaths.
The footpaths alongside the train station appear to be unfinished and are now a dangerous place to walk.