I TRAVELLED between York and Cambridge by train last week. It was not a good day on the rails - there seemed to be cancellations and delays all over.

Eventually I started making a mental note of the different reasons for the situation being given out on loudspeakers.

There was a mention of industrial action, a couple of 'lack of staff'. There were signalling problems on one route, trains on the mainline were immobilised by 'a fault with a previous train'.

On the way back nothing was moving because of damage to the overhead power cables.

Luckily there were no leaves, cows or trespassers on the lines.

Seriously, infrastructure with that many problems at one time is a symptom of a country in a very bad state.

The one bright spot was the railway staff, who were unfailingly kind, helpful and competent, even when surrounded by a lot of frazzled passengers all wanting their particular problem solved, preferably immediately.

Staying calm and friendly in that sort of situation can't be easy.

Ann Holt,

Portland Street,



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Medals please for dads of teenagers

HELEN Mead's article, Time Off With Teens Would Be Of Benefit, (Friday, December 1), made me smile and wince all at once.

My memories I am sure are not dissimilar to many other Press readers.

Teens can be so unpredictable to the point of madness but then equally full of charm and delight.

This charm however can wear a trifle thin when having to be awoken in the early hours by phone, to pick up my teenager slightly worse for wear staggering home from a party!

Frankly it's a hands on hands off approach which I found more acceptable to both of us in those learning years.

And then all so briefly your teenager becomes an intelligent caring adult who you are in awe of.

And those are days are worth waiting for. I think there should be medals given to experienced dads and enlightened offspring?

Phil Shepherdson,