Left behind in the drive to expand our railways
RECENTLY I travelled on the scenic Tamar Valley line from Plymouth to Gunnislake on Dartmoor stopping at eight stations. I noticed the stations looked reasonably clean and some had CCTV cameras.
I also travelled on the Cardiff to Ebbw Vale line which is part of the 17-mile branch Western Valley line. It is another scenic route. We stopped at six stations, all of which had park and rides.
I was impressed by both routes. What was particularly pleasing was the absence of graffiti and litter. Nor had any of the vegetation on and around the stations been allowed to grow out of control.
Sadly I cannot say the same about Bedminster and Parson Street stations. Both stations are plagued by graffiti. People do it even though they run the risk of being fined up to £1,000 for trespassing on the railway.
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Neither Bedminster nor Parson Street stations have any form of CCTV. If they did it would help to make passengers feel more secure. Litter in the shape of empty beer/cider cans can be found all along the platforms. It looks so untidy and it gives the impression no one cares.
And vegetation is growing out of control at the ends of Parson Street station. There is also a need for basic maintenance. A retaining wall has a row of bricks which are loose. The cement between the bricks has become dislodged by roots of weeds.
And there is no disabled access.
Meanwhile in the underground subways at Bedminster station two drains are blocked by dirt and leaves.
The truth is that the profits have been bled out of the railways by 20 years of privatisation. Had money been reinvested in modernisation and improving the infrastructure we would not have been left behind in the drive to expand our railways and keep pace with the increasing number of passengers.
David Wood, RMT (Rail Maritime and Transport Union)
Written in a personal capacity.