Readers' letters - July 2

A reader asks: Why do rail drivers need to be trained?A reader asks: Why do rail drivers need to be trained?
A reader asks: Why do rail drivers need to be trained?
Why do rail drivers need to be trained?

I was fascinated to read Stephen J. Maher’s article (LP, Saturday, June 23) concerning railway timetables. This research fellow at Lancaster University provided an interesting précis about just how timetables come about.

Of course, it was easier in the old days when the trains consisted of the locomotive and carriages/other rolling stock to make up the train. There it was simply a case of matching up a locomotive with that rolling stock. I suppose in those days it was called Search Engine Optimisation.

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Joking aside, I am puzzled by Northern’s explanation for the considerable disruption that they have caused to its passengers and the travelling public in general. Quite a bit of this seems to be down to a lack of sufficient drivers as they are being trained on the new layout between Preston and Blackpool North.

I find this explanation utterly bewildering. It is not as if the drivers have a steering wheel in the cab. The direction in which the train travels is surely governed by the mega signal box.

What is so difficult about the road/signal layout about this short distance that so much time needs spending on training?

West Coast Railways has trains criss-crossing Great Britain, with routes such as Dumfries to Betws-y-Coed, Sheffield to Poole and Carnforth to Canterbury, for which I am sure none of their drivers have been on those routes, yet seem not to need such training for such unfamiliar territory. So just what is so special about the Preston to Blackpool routes that Northern’s drivers need training on?

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If WCR drivers can cope with unfamiliar track layouts, why can’t Northern?

We appoint amateurs – politicians – to high position who have absolutely no experience of the departments/services that they are the heads of.

The irony of the Transport Secretary being chauffeured everywhere is not lost on me, for that seems to sum up the limits of his ‘qualifications’ to be in that position.

Neil Swindlehurst

Walmer Bridge


‘Consultation’ is just a charade

Today, residents in Goosnargh and Whittingham received a flyer, informing us of Homes England and Preston City council plans to more than double the size of intended development on the former Whittingham hospital site, adding 750 homes to the current agreed plan for 650. This would essentially double or even triple the size of the current village.

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The flyer is advertising a so-called consultation event – another charade in the planning process designed to give the illusion that local people will be listened to. What’s the point? This will be a fait accompli, and the best that could be achieved will be some minor tweak, not a cancellation or meaningful reduction in the number of houses proposed.

Preston City Council have once again proved they are spineless and completely ineffective in protecting the rural areas and villages for which they are allegedly responsible.

Dave Nuttall

via email


Everyone’s a critic!

My mum and I were watching the telly one evening when we heard a bloodcurdling scream coming from our back garden.

It sounded just like there was some kind of gruesome murder taking place, but, looking cautiously outside, I discovered a fox in our back garden.

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Either guarding his territory or looking for a lady friend, I thought.

Well, not quite!

We were watching Strictly Come Dancing at that very moment, and Susan and Kevin were doing, you’ve guessed it, a foxtrot!

What’s more, the fox didn’t let up until the judges had all given their verdict, then moved on to the next contestant. I can only conclude that our visiting ‘reynard’ was trying to tell them exactly what he thought of their fox trot.

That’ll be zero marks from him then!

Sorry Susan and Kevin!

Catherine M Langan

Address supplied


Overtaking is a real danger

Drivers running red lights seem to only get a fine and three penalty points, but can anything be done with drivers passing two cars at once?

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My daughter and I have had this experience three times – a car in front of us, suddenly from behind a car or van shoots past both of us. This is a very dangerous situation for oncoming traffic, they are putting lives in danger.

Brenda Wilkinson

via email


Limit power for novice drivers

ARE motorway lessons for learner drivers a good idea? Night driving is just as important, why not make that compulsory?

I believe new drivers should have limits on the power of cars they can drive – modern vehicles are too powerful and responsive for the inexperienced to handle safely.

In France, new drivers had a limit on the top speed they could do e.g. 90kph (56mph), with a 90 sticker displayed on the rear window. Then they had an A sticker to show they were inexperienced.

Good, safe driving only comes via experience.

DS Boyes

via email


World has turned upside down

Germany are out of the World Cup and England have qualified for the knock-out stages. And we’re having a warm summer. Has someone flipped the reality switch?

Lucy Barnes

Address supplied