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ROBERT Drysdale (Letters, 1 February) correctly sources the blame for Scotland’s unfit-for-purpose long-distance trains to our civil servants – in this case, Transport Scotland. His views on poor-quality long-distance trains throughout the rest of the UK are equally apposite.

While the problem boils down to civil servants prescribing minimum standards for our trains, our railway operators cannot escape their share of culpability. They don’t and won’t pass upstairs to civil servants the fact that the trains are utterly inadequate for service.

In the case of First ScotRail, managing director Steve Montgomery has told me on several occasions that First ScotRail will not refer passenger misery to Transport Scotland. Why not? “It’s not part of the franchise” is the excuse.

The present state of affairs must not continue. The miserable conditions on our long-distance trains is a scandal, and a wart on the noble face of Scotland.

Gordon Casely