Readers' letters - June 5
Mr Grayling, please sort train issues out
Please find below a letter that has been sent to Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport, regarding the chaotic service our residents across the Lancashire area are receiving as a result of the service provided by Northern Rail.
A large group of Labour councillors, MPs and Parliamentary candidates from across the Lancashire area have come together to call upon the Conservative Government to finally hold Northern Rail to account for its performance.
This weekend, the commuters of Lancashire were hit with further uncertainty over future rail services to be told that there will be more large scale cancellations in the coming weeks. As far as I am concerned, if Northern Rail can’t provide a basic service then the Government should strip it of the franchise.
Chorley County Councillor
Dear Mr Grayling,
We are writing to you as Labour councillors, MPs and Parliamentary candidates from across Lancashire regarding issues you will be aware of and which thousands of our residents are facing on a daily basis while using Northern Rail services.
The advent of the new timetable has provided both commuters and Northern Rail with many unacceptable challenges.
On a daily basis, what should be a simple commute to and from work has become a battle against the departures board.
Issues range from repeated delayed services, cancellations and dangerous overcrowding.
Furthermore, the new timetable itself has presented rail users and employers of rail users with impossible circumstances.
In some instances, even when trains do show up, commuters are failing to get into work until after 9am.
In addition to this, we have received many reports of rail replacement services buses failing to stop at the relevant pick up point and missing passengers – a further level
of inconvenience and distress.
Both psychologically and physically, this has become intolerable for our residents who are dependent upon rail services.
From an economic perspective, this is undeniably bad news and we are already picking up reports of possible job loss threats due to the instability of the rail service.
On behalf of the commuters of Lancashire, we are asking for an official investigation into whether Northern Rail is in breach of its franchise agreement.
We also ask for reassurance that you are taking every step to ensure Northern Rail improves its performance immediately and it is held to account for the poor service.
This cannot be allowed to go on any longer.
Labour Councillors, MPs and Parliamentary Candidates from across Lancashire
Ask passengers what we want
Luckily, I don’t rely on rail travel, apart from occasional pleasure purposes.
But there’s a certain irony that, at the moment, our train operators seem unable to provide services because they don’t have enough drivers.
And to load even more problems on the poor traveller, at the same time the rail unions are striking because they want to ensure there is no single manning of trains.
At least, both sides are in agreement that they would like to increase the number of employees!
However, there seems little consideration for the poor customers who both pay to travel or for the disruption of not travelling.
Incidentally, I suspect that the vast majority of customers, given the opportunity, would vote for the provision of a guard on every train. It would add little to the cost of each ticket and ensure a more secure journey. Why not ask the people who pay for the tickets?
Five star show
I recently attended The Drifters concert at Preston Charter Theatre.
It’s remarkable to think there has always been a Drifters act – in various line-ups – touring and recording since 1953.
The current line-up of The Drifters, who all took a share of the lead vocals and all had equally good voices, along with the superb backing of four talented musicians, wowed a near capacity audience to their vast repertoire of hits spanning three decades. There were the likes of Under The Boardwalk, Save The Last Dance For Me, There Goes My First Love, along with tributes to Motown music and founder member Ben E King, in two tight 60 minute sets with a short break in between.
By the time they reached the finale, More Than A Number In My Little Red Book, everybody was standing up dancing, singing and clapping along.
It was definitely five star entertainment!
Fill empty ones first
On June 3, 2017, I walked through Chorley and photographed 25 shops that were derelict. Today, I counted 28 empty shops and one with a “Closing Down Sale”. An increase of at least 12 per cent in one year!
In Chorley, there are empty shops of all sizes. Availability is on Market Street, Chapel Street, Market Square and now even Market Walk (plus on many other central streets).
Two weeks ago, M&S announced the closure of 100 stores nationwide and IKEA announced they would no longer come to the site in Preston/Cuerden.
In the current economic climate, does Chorley really need more shops?
Wouldn’t it be better if these 29 shops were occupied before more retail units were built? If more large retail premises were built in the town centre, would they ever be occupied?
No – we are now in the age of online shopping.
Like it or not, the streets are devoid of people but full of delivery vans. Building bigger units out of town is not the way to attract more traders into the town centre.
Let’s face it, Chorley will never be a town full of prime, national retail outlets. Let’s accept it as it is – a small, quaint market town that comes to life thrice each week on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.