AT the outset can I stress I am not defending TransPennine Express (TPE) – their service has been appalling and their response to their difficulties has been pretty pathetic.

But, your newspaper has printed several reports and letters which sadly are inaccurate, and I do wish you would check your facts as you build a level of anger towards TPE which in some respects is simply not warranted.

Your correspondent (Shambolic service, January 8) says that both the late delivery of new trains and driver training could have been planned for.

Those of us with previous experience of new train introduction regarded the timescales as heroic. But train operators are under pressure at bid time to make such heroic predictions in their bids if they are to win.

The process, and Department for Transport Ministers, do not welcome caution, whatever the latter may suggest to the contrary.

Drivers have to be trained on the new trains, driving the routes they will drive. The trains must be empty (them’s the rules). It takes drivers away from normal duties.

It was always going to be heroic but with trains delivered late, niggling faults, infrastructure problems that lie with Network Rail, it becomes nigh on impossible.

What it does flag is the industry must review how it trains its drivers on new trains – greater use of simulators would seem to make more sense, but ultimately the driver must drive the new train on the route she or he will operate.

Turning to the reports of money to be spent at Malton Station. This is good news but, if your report is correct, frankly not the good news that Cllr Duncan suggests.

The station already meets minimum standards – this work just extends the length of platform that is at the “correct” height and distance from the train.

But it makes not one jot of difference for travellers with access issues: it is policy on the UK rail network that we do not have level boarding (it would take several paragraphs to explain why) so nothing changes unless you really wanted to board the vehicle nearest Scarborough in either direction of travel.

Cllr Di Keal is correct that reinstatement of the second platform would be more useful, particularly if we ever get the hourly Northern York to Scarborough service.

But the way the industry is structured that is a matter for Network Rail and the changes to track layouts, the fully accessible bridges with lifts that would be required, would cost a very great deal more than the £300,000 that TPE are spending.

When we looked at this some years ago, it simply did not make any financial sense and even with an hourly Northern service I suspect it is at best pretty marginal. And with Northern’s future looking pretty shaky I will not be booking a Northern only ticket from Malton to York any time soon.

Jerry Swift, retired from Network Rail

Why do you do it?

WHY do people drop litter?

Why do people buy a plastic/paper cup of coffee in town and when they have finished it, just chuck it out of the window as they drive along?

I would really like to know.

As part of a litter picking team in Helmsley we have picked up over 123 bags (Ryedale District Council large sacks) of rubbish, just in the last six months, including bottles, plastic and glass and cans, which could be recycled. We all know the rubbish we witness everywhere.

Are you one of those who does it? Please tell me your “thinking”.

Anne Stewart, Helmsley

We’ve been warned

AT a hustings in Husthwaite on December 3, Kevin Hollinrake MP refused to promise to vote against the UK leaving the EU without a trade deal at the end of the transition period.

This is after spending several minutes explaining how important such a deal would be for the local and national economy.

He also said only “one or two” members of his party did not want a trade deal which seems barely credible as all the European Research Group MPs are openly supporting leaving without one, while many moderating voices such as Philip Hammond have been pushed out of a Tory Party which is now hell-bent on deregulation.

By refusing to draw a line in the sand on this issue, Kevin is leaving himself wriggle room so he can once again put party and personal ambition before constituency.

No doubt at the end of this year the EU will be blamed for the lack of an acceptable deal and Kevin will explain that in the interests of certainty, democracy, stability, etc, etc, we have to leave without one.

No doubt public money will be used to try to minimise the short-term effects.

But no stock-piling will avoid the harsh realities of tariffs and non-tariff barriers to our biggest market and severe damage to local businesses, especially farmers, will impact all in this constituency. We have been warned.

Sarah Aspinall, Husthwaite