Letter: Trains - I must admit, I’m sceptical....

Colin Norton is sceptical with proposals for the Harrogate trains
Colin Norton is sceptical with proposals for the Harrogate trains

I read with great interest the article in the December 17 edition of the Harrogate Advertiser concerning Arriva’s proposals for the Harrogate line, and I must admit I am sceptical that with a couple of them there may be problems.

Firstly, the addition of extra trains on the route. The provision of stock is virtually at breaking point now, with no extra available.

Plus, if they are found they will add even a bigger burden to the approaches to Leeds station and any more to York adds more congestion to the main line between Skelton junction and York station.

Secondly, the article quotes ‘new trains’ or existing stock ‘being brought up to modern standards’.

How is it possible to bring the clapped out stock on the Harrogate line ‘up to modern standards’ even after getting rid of the dreaded Pacer trains?

Plus the Pacers (Class 144s and 142s) constitute a large percentage of the fleet, so what are they to be replaced with? No new build diesel trains are on the drawing board never mind the production lines, unless they consider the revamped London Underground stock being converted by Vivarail.

Mr Jones the Harrogate and Knaresborough MP, with being a Junior Transport Minister, said that it is the Government who has the last word on new rolling stock.

Whilst, incidentally, it is owned by the Rolling Stock Companies (ROSCOS).

I certainly do hope that all the proposals of Arriva do come to fruition, as I have been travelling on the route for over 50 years and have witnessed its gradual decline.

Harrogate has been playing catch up ever since the town lost its link with the north in March 1967, and with it the prestige Queen of Scots Pullman with its connections to Glasgow and Edinburgh, and direct trains to Newcastle, Manchester and Liverpool.

Harrogate’s importance has never been appreciated by the mandarins in London, and it must be the largest town in the north without a direct service to Manchester Airport, in fact direct to anywhere.

I realise it does not involve Arriva, or the franchise, but how about a cross country service and a Trans Pennine service being rerouted at Leeds to York via Harrogate?

I wish Harrogate luck.

Colin Norton

Whitehall Road,