Letter: Missing link in railway vision

FULL credit to Ron McAulay, Network Rail's Scottish Director, for delivering the Airdrie-Bathgate line reopening on time/on budget, and aiming for Edinburgh-Glasgow electrification by 2016 (Business, 5 December).

But his railway "vision" was spoiled by curiously avoiding mention of Scotland's "missing link" needing just 1.8 miles of electrification of an existing freight line through Glasgow Cross to unify our two historically separate "west" and "east" Scottish networks?

This Crossrail route would open up massive benefits of direct train travel (no change needed) between Ayrshire/Inverclyde/Renfrewshire/Paisley and Airdrie/Bathgate/Edinburgh/Cumbernauld/Falkirk/Stirling etc. It's the hassle and half-hour interruption between Glasgow's Central and Queen Street Stations which discourages train travel for most people commuting west-east across Scotland.

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Crossrail has ticked all the boxes required in terms of promoting economic development, social opportunity and environmental sustainability, with an independent study also confirming savings of 60 million/30 per cent on the related Glasgow Airport Rail Link (GARL) in response to government claims of unaffordability.

Both Crossrail and GARL are "shovel ready" projects ready to commence almost immediately, offering multiplier boost to a more competitive, fully integrated and better used rail network, similar to those we envy throughout modernised cities elsewhere in Europe.

K A Sutherland, Bearsden, Glasgow