A second bombshell hit the Labour Party Conference, being held at Liverpool’s Albert Dock, on Tuesday as, only hours before Ed Miliband’s apparently sizzling Leader’s Speech, news leaked out of health concerns on public transport carrying delegates to the venue.
Speaking exclusively to us, one local delegate reported that the Northern Rail train on which they were travelling had a “faint smell of death”. Extensive research has indicated no similar incidents on Southern Railways which has re-ignited the acrimonious North/South divide arguments which blew up over the provision of cheese based savoury snacks.
In a second incident, involving a pre-booked licensed mini-cab, a high ranking Labour Party official expressed concerns over high stress levels caused by poor customer service. Despite constant attempts to discuss these issues with South London MP and former Transport Minister, Sadiq Khan, and People’s Champion, Tom Watson, the Labour Party has remained tight-lipped.
The train involved in the incident, believed to be a Sprinter Class 150/2, was making the scheduled journey between Manchester Piccadilly and Liverpool Lime Street. The route, which also services Eccles, Newton-le-Willows, St Helens Junction and Wavertree Technology Park, follows in part the route of the famous Rainhill Trials. Huyton, long term constituency of former Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, is also served by this line which is overseen by the MerseyRail Passenger Transport Executive.
Sprinter Class 150/2 trains, capable of speeds in excess of 70 mph, are a stalwart of the rail network having been introduced in the early 1980s and originally included unique interior door open and close buttons. These buttons were square and either blue in the North of England and Southern Scotland or yellowy-orange in the South. When pressed, the buttons illuminated either turquoise in the North or bright yellow in the South to indicate the door opening mechanism being enabled. Interestingly, the obvious political message of this “feature” was, it would seem, overlooked.
Shockingly, and despite designers’ beliefs that the illumination feature would to aid visually impaired rail users, these buttons did not meet the current standards set out by disability regulations. Lack of foresight by train builders BREL resulted in a lack of raised Braille and in the buttons being too small for some disabled people to locate. No disabled rail users groups were available for comment.
Nevertheless, in what can only be seen as a progressive move by train operators, blue buttons are being replaced by standardised EAO series 56 “easy to see, easy to press” raised circular door buttons. These include Braille writing for the visually impaired over a yellow surround which comply with all present Rail Vehicle Accessibility Regulations.
Mr Ian Cawsey, former Member of Parliament for Brigg and Goole and well-known local rail user, was not available for comment. It is believed that there were no injuries sustained in either incident. Reports of stone-throwing youths and outbreaks of localised looting are, as yet, unsubstantiated.
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