Tuesday, 10 January 2012

A tale of two Railways - HS2 and Torchgate on the Hexham Line...

On the day when the House debated HS2 it was noticeable that all political parties supported and approved the idea and the plan for a high-speed rail route linking London to the West Midlands and subsequently the north east of England. Ultimately the route will go to Scotland. It will add up to 26,000 more seats for rail passengers, and slash journey times by as much as half.
HS2 will also help create jobs, growth and prosperity for the North East. It has the support of business and will also free up extra capacity on the existing network.

A separate railway debate is "Torchgate": readers of the Hexham Courant will know that the notoriously crowded 7.42am train from Hexham to Newcastle has had one of its key Units withdrawn after just three days in service.
The unit was removed because drivers had to walk from one end of the train to the other in the dark – and rail union health and safety officials said this practice was unsafe.
I offered to break the deadlock, as the paper reports:
Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman said: “Clearly this extra carriage is vital for the comfort of passengers. While health and safety measures have to be observed, I find it incredible that drivers cannot use a torch to walk a distance of 100 yards.
If they have not got a torch, I will personally buy them one each! The public will be amazed that a more practical solution cannot be found.”


My Railway Guru and Tyne Valley Rail Users Group Member, Robert Forsythe, said: “This is shambolic and as a result, day after day, people are being left stranded.
“Union health and safety coupled to managerial lack of forethought ensures the Tyne Valley passengers are treated like cattle.”

Sadly, the saga is ongoing, but I am pleased that the parties are at least working on it.