Letters: Old railway lines could get our transport back on track

The transport planners in Edinburgh have a great chance to rectify mistakes of the past.

Before and for some time after the Second World War, there were more than 30 railway stations in the city. Most of them had a tram or bus stop nearby – an early form of integrated public transport.

Only two of the original suburban stations remain in use today, Slateford and Kingsknowe, as the rest closed years ago. Fortunately most of the track bed remains and could be converted to tramways at a reasonable cost as there would be no utilities to divert.

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Manchester and Croydon have used old railways to extend their tram networks with great success.

A feasibility study could be set up. Some railway track has been built on, such as the Corstorphine and Barnton spurs, but if the track had survived times to the centre of the city would have been ten and 15 minutes respectively.

With a growing population, Edinburgh badly needs an integrated public transport system as the buses won’t be able to cope.

George Ritchie, North Gyle Terrace, Edinburgh

Join the queue to invest in Scotland

So David Cameron vows to win Scots hearts and minds in his review to outline his referendum battle plans.

Like Clegg and Miliband at their respective Lib/Dem and Labour Party conferences, Cameron made it patently clear to Scots at the Conservative Party conference that their hearts and minds should be in no doubt about the benefits of Scotland’s independence when they all, in turn, declared unequivocally that the English, Welsh and Northern Irish economies would be greatly weakened if Scotland gained independence.

Forgive me if I am missing something here, but is this not an acceptance by them that the Scottish economy would be greatly strengthened if independence was gained?

Why do many Scots allow themselves to get sidetracked by insignificant issues on the political periphery by London-based propaganda when the main issues are so simple?

The three aforementioned nations, commendable though they are, are dependent on the wealth of Scotland – but surely they must join the queue with other nations of the world who will line up to invest in Scotland’s natural and man-made resources.

William Burns, Pennywell Road, Edinburgh

Children’s rights to free thinking

This week our local authority schools opened their gates again, which means that playtime continues for the Church of Scotland, Scripture Union Scotland and any other religious group that cares to join in the fun and games.

For an example of what passes for education during the many hours spent on RME/RO, take a look at the Light Dispels Darkness assembly resource on the Education Scotland website, which for reasons best known to Learning and Teaching Scotland is described as a “learning resource”.

Prepare to rejoice if you are a stand-up comedian in need of new material or to weep if you are a non-religious parent unable to transfer your child to the safe haven of a private education. When will our councillors and MSPs have the decency to champion the right to freedom of thought for all of Scotland’s children?

Which is more important – to accommodate the self-interest of the Church of Scotland or to ensure that the children of Scotland are educated in an environment which will keep them safe from religious indoctrination and free from the opt-out disadvantage?

The answer should be obvious. What is less obvious is the reason why no action has been taken so far.

Veronica Wikman, Malleny Avenue, Edinburgh

Thanks to all ERI staff for caring

I WAS amazed at the comments made by Dr Logan (News, January 2) regarding the attitude and care of the nursing staff at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

In my recent stay everyone from the cleaners to the surgeons treated me with every attention I could ask for.

The only criticism I have is with the food, but this wasn’t the fault of nursing staff at the ERI.

Thank you everyone at the ERI for your tender loving care and attention to me and everyone who needed it.

May I wish you all the best for 2013.

S Kyte, Riverside Drive, Haddington, East Lothian