Your letters to the Herts Ad...

PUBLISHED: 14:09 07 June 2018

Have your say and write to hertsad@archant.co.uk

Have your say and write to hertsad@archant.co.uk

Pixtural

Email us at hertsad@archant.co.uk or write to the usual address in French Row...

I understand Govia Thameslink trains run from station A to station B, then the driver changes ends and takes the train back to station A. I thought your readers might be interested in the 1950s schedule for the 5.18pm St Pancras-Harpenden train (2-6-4 steam tank locomotive with 9 “slam door” suburban carriages - 864 seats).

Locomotive and crew left Kentish Town locomotive depot at 2.35pm and crossed the main lines to the Cattle Dock carriage sidings. From there they worked the empty carriages for the 3.15pm Bradford express into St Pancras.
They banked the 3.15 out of St Pancras and then dropped back into platform 7 to work the empty coaches off the 3.12pm arrival from Sheffield back into the Cattle Dock. They then worked the empty carriages for the 5.05pm Bradford express into St Pancras.

After banking out the 5.05pm the locomotive dropped back onto the carriages of the 5.18pm Harpenden train. They worked the 5.18 along the main line to St Albans where they took on 2,000 gallons of water. They continued to Harpenden Central where they crossed to the slow lines. They then took the empty carriages along the goods lines (now the slow lines) to Luton.

After shunting at Luton they returned to St Pancras with the six-carriage all stations arriving at St Pancras at 9.51pm. Here the crew were probably relieved as at 11.17pm the locomotive worked the empty carriages off the 10.55pm arrival from Manchester back to the Cattle Dock. This schedule was tabulated by railwaymen in shirt sleeves using paper and pencil, and it worked year-in, year-out.

The 5.18 was regularly worked by Kentish Town ‘“top-link” crews and we had some lively performances culminating in driver Harry Edwards running the 20 miles to St Albans in 22 minutes 50 seconds, arriving four minutes 10 seconds early, much to the astonishment of the commuters.

HOWARD GREEN
Jennings Road, St Albans

For Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Chris White to say in relation to Cllr Yates’ resignation, “I wanted a stronger team at planning as they had become out of-touch with the Local Plan...” bluntly put is a nonsense.

He’s replaced David Yates, their most experienced councillor in planning terms, with Cllr Jacqui Taylor, who was only elected four weeks ago.

She hasn’t even fully completed her planning training before she’s expected to sit on her first Planning Policy Committee on June 12 at a crucial stage as the Draft Local Plan is finalised.

Chris White can hardly claim with any seriousness that this is strengthening the Liberal Democrats’ support for the Local Plan.

Let’s not forget it was the Liberal Democrats under the leadership of (still sitting) Cllr Robert Donald who sunk the Local Plan (that they initiated!) at full council in November 2012.

The question on every residents’ lips now is - will Chris White repeat Donald’s trick and attempt to derail this Local Plan in pursuit of power? I suspect sadly, in light of David Yates’ resignation, that we can only conclude Cllr White prizes political control over getting the next 20 years of housing right for residents.

Cllr Yates is right to point out to residents that he has resigned because St Albans Liberal Democrats are no longer liberal, democratic or tolerant - something I have considered obvious for some time.

I am pleased that David Yates as an independent councillor will continue on the PPC to give his considered and experienced input to ensure we get the right Local Plan for residents rather than playing politics like Chris White.

CLLR JOCK WRIGHT

Park Street Ward

Member of Planning Policy Committee
Balfour Street
Hertford

I read with interest the article in the paper on April 26 reagarding the Royal British Legion’s St Albans branch of the Poppy appeal. It will be a great shame if the Poppies aren’t done this coming year.

It is a lot of hard work for the organiser and volunteers. Kate McKay was well aware of what was involved, and I know for a fact that Don Dell went through all the paperwork that had to be done and offered to help her should she need it by giving her advice.

The committee that resigned was the St Albans branch of the Royal British Legion, not the Poppy Appeal committee. As the Mitchell Hall was closed by the RBL HQ the branch committee was not able to continue.

Don Dell retired as the Poppy Appeal organiser, and the Poppy Appeal continued without unfortunately some of the volunteers as they were no longer able to help due to ill health, and subsequently two members have passed away.

NAME & ADDRESS SUPPLIED

I understand Govia Thameslink trains run from station A to station B, then the driver changes ends and takes the train back to station A. I thought your readers might be interested in the 1950s schedule for the 5.18pm St Pancras-Harpenden train (2-6-4 steam tank locomotive with 9 “slam door” suburban carriages - 864 seats).

Locomotive and crew left Kentish Town locomotive depot at 2.35pm and crossed the main lines to the Cattle Dock carriage sidings. From there they worked the empty carriages for the 3.15pm Bradford express into St Pancras.

They banked the 3.15 out of St Pancras and then dropped back into platform 7 to work the empty coaches off the 3.12pm arrival from Sheffield back into the Cattle Dock. They then worked the empty carriages for the 5.05pm Bradford express into St Pancras.

After banking out the 5.05pm the locomotive dropped back onto the carriages of the 5.18pm Harpenden train. They worked the 5.18 along the main line to St Albans where they took on 2,000 gallons of water.

They continued to Harpenden Central where they crossed to the slow lines. They then took the empty carriages along the goods lines (now the slow lines) to Luton.

After shunting at Luton they returned to St Pancras with the six-carriage all stations arriving at St Pancras at 9.51pm. Here the crew were probably relieved as at 11.17pm the locomotive worked the empty carriages off the 10.55pm arrival from Manchester back to the Cattle Dock. This schedule was tabulated by railwaymen in shirt sleeves using paper and pencil, and it worked year-in, year-out.

The 5.18 was regularly worked by Kentish Town ‘“top-link” crews and we had some lively performances culminating in driver Harry Edwards running the 20 miles to St Albans in 22 minutes 50 seconds, arriving four minutes 10 seconds early, much to the astonishment of the commuters.

HOWARD GREEN
Jennings Road, St Albans

An earthquake.

That’s what this whole sorry mess surrounding the new Thameslink timetable has now become. From the epicentre of the initial decision, the ripple effect has had far, far more reaching consequences than anyone in the decision-making process could have predicted.

Families are simply losing.

Home lives are being damaged.

Incomes are being put at risk.

Sackable lateness is becoming more apparent and possible.

Contracts are being lost.

Money is being spent on ill-affordable alternative transport.

Mental health is stretched to anxious levels.

Children’s education is lost because they can’t get to school on time, detention anyone?

People are passing out on trains.

Safety/security of travelling alone at night is being compromised.

Dangerous overcrowding on both platform and in carriages is beyond unfathomable.

Thameslink local staff are at breaking point.

Each day seems to bring new aftershocks.

LYNNELLE ROBINSON

By email

The Thameslink ‘service’ is totally unacceptable. On Sunday evening one train after another was delayed by 10 minutes, then 15 minutes then 25 minutes and then cancelled.

After standing on Radlett station platform for 45 minutes I went back to the car, drove to Edgware and got the Tube.

Then on Wednesday morning waiting with two heavy suitcases to catch a flight from Gatwick, the trains were once again delayed and then cancelled.

Suddenly there was an announcement to say that an unscheduled train to London was arriving at platform 3.

All the waiting passengers from platform 1 rushed across the bridge to the other platform but the train did not stop long enough for everyone to get on.

We then had no idea when or where the next train would arrive. When it eventually came it was already rammed full. We arrived 45 minutes late.

Thameslink should have its franchise withdrawn as it cannot maintain a viable service.

KAY BAGON
Homefield Road, Radlett

A never-ending hot topic for political discussion, both nationally and locally, is NHS funding, with the efficiency and therefore the cost of hospital services a vital issue.

As a volunteer driver for Harpenden Helping Hand I regularly take – usually elderly or disabled – patients living in Harpenden to and from local hospitals, most often to Luton & Dunstable or St Albans City Hospital.

There is nearly always a good deal of waiting around while they are attended to, which gives me a chance to read my newspaper but, of more relevance, to observe the ‘passing scene’ from the hospital waiting areas and corridors.

Over the past decade or more I have been struck by the contrast between those two hospitals.

The L&D has an air about it of purposeful activity. Nurses and other members of staff going about their duties appear imbued with a sense of resolve, if not enthusiasm.

At St Albans Hospital, in contrast, I detect a certain languidness, with some – though obviously not all – nurses or orderlies seeming to be less than fully occupied, with an undue amount of time to spare for chatting with their colleagues or unhurriedly carrying paperwork between departments.

The L&D, for which I hold no special brief by the way, ranks highly on national performance tables, its University Hospital status no doubt a contributory factor.

I suggest West Herts NHS Trust might consider sending a fact-finding team from St Albans to study the L&D’s working ethos, from which they, along with City Hospital patients, might well benefit.

ALAN BUNTING
Ridgewood Drive, Harpenden

Mark Ward wrote last week with regard the lack of response he has experienced from our Conservative MP for Harpenden, Bim Afolami.

Like Mr Ward, our experience of Mr Afolami has been shudderingly underwhelming.

We contacted him with regard the likely closure of Nascot Lawn respite centre for disabled children in Watford.

It has had a profound impact on us, and other families who live locally. Mr Afolami expressed his disapproval of the closure, claimed to believe that the NHS needs more money, and, er, that was that.

He did very little else, and then couldn’t be bothered to stay in touch with us.

I’m sure he’s a very nice man, but that’s not really the point, is it?

Perhaps he is now realising that it is his party’s policies that are forcing the NHS to make these appalling decisions that are impacting the most vulnerable citizens in our society.

urely one of the functions of a good constituency MP is to fight hard for one’s constituents?

The constituency of Hitchin and Harpenden is of course a great place to live, but its constituents still face all sorts of challenges.

We need an MP prepared to fight hard for us.

DAVID JOSEPHS
Harpenden

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