LETTER: Public transport needs an upgrade

stock inter city train. train passing through a  small station
stock inter city train. train passing through a small station

Thank you for highlighting the shortcomings of Chinley station in the Advertiser of February 11.

If ever there were a prize for the worst station in the UK then surely Chinley would be a prime contender.

It consists of one wind-swept island platform, a rusting Wendy house which serves as a shelter but which lets the wind whip through it and a dauntingly steep footbridge which deters all but the most able bodied from accessing the platform. In these enlightened times of acknowledging access for the disabled and parents with buggies and pushchairs, how on earth does Network Rail get away with this state of affairs?

I have witnessed shivering commuters and shoppers enduring the austere surroundings of Chinley station on numerous occasions.

And unless they are lucky enough to be catching one of the very few comfortable East Midlands trains which stop at the station, passengers are greeted by a clapped-out 40 year old Pacer train which is in fact just a bus body mounted on a rail chassis and therefore noisy, cramped and uncomfortable.

Both Chinley station and Pacer trains would not look out of place in an impoverished Third World country.

With all the housing developments already constructed or in the pipeline in the area, public transport needs to be upgraded and improved.

More frequent, more comfortable trains serving Chinley are desperately needed.

The Government’s oft-repeated praise of a “Northern Powerhouse” has a hollow ring if we compare our threadbare public transport system with the millions being spent on trains, stations and new lines in the south-east.

Privatisation of the railways has brought few advantages for travellers outside the favoured environs of London and the south-east.

Poor old British Rail was starved of funds by previous Governments - especially in the Thatcher era - with the result that new technology such as the tilting train were not invested in so now the same technology has been hijacked by the Germans and used in Pendolino trains on Virgin services.

And only a fortnight ago, the Times reported that every family in Britain contributes £180 annually to the railways - much more than was ever given to British Rail.

Northern Rail’s attitude to passenger comfort was exposed when I wrote complaining of severe overcrowding on a Manchester - Buxton train a few years ago.

I was told that, in the event of a rail disaster, Northern Rail staff were trained to evacuate casualties from a train rammed with travellers and that therefore I should not worry about overcrowding. My complaint about the large numbers of standing passengers was totally ignored.

It is to be hoped that Chinley station will be improved and modern replacement trains provided to the benefit of us all.

But perhaps we should not be holding our breath.

Nicholas Bostin