Scotland on Sunday readers' letters: Railways on the right track, but with points to be made
It is with reluctance that I have to query two of the points raised within the article.
First is the one that these new trains will halve the cost of electrifying routes. No electrification would be necessary as these trains will run on existing infrastructure, a major benefit on lines that cannot justify the cost of this new technology. In the list of possible lines under consideration is the Edinburgh to Tweedbank route which was completely rebuilt with overhead electric power supply.
Later on it is described as “an ideal candidate”. How can this be?
The route is already electric and fully functional – why apply new technology to a route which has already had a significant financial investment? Extentions to the line in future would also need to be electrified as this would be a long-distance route to join up with the West Coast mainline.
The second point is the reference to the Inter-City trains being withdrawn earlier than 2030. These were brought in as a stop-gap until the routes they are running on are electrified, such as Edinburgh to Aberdeen, to complete the upgrade from King’s Cross.
These are routes that will be difficult to operate with the new environmentally friendly trains at this stage as the plan is to allow exisiting long-distance trains to operate further north to Perth, Inverness and Aberdeen as already mentioned.
The Inter-City trains are not perfect but they are still performing well and a much cheaper option than building new.
I do hope that bringing ScotRail under the Scottish Government’s control will result in a positive improvement to the railway network, embracing better use of energy resources. And not forgetting rail freight as well!
Walter Simms, Falkirk
In these uncertain days the UK must become self-sufficient in food production since it imports 48 per cent of the food consumed.
Ukraine exports 25 million tonnes of wheat every year, some to Britain, but this year's crop will never be planted. Why are the UK and Scottish governments allowing good agricultural land to be "rewilded" or turned into solar farms? Rewilding and solar farms will not feed the nation.
The UK and Scottish governments must decree that local authorities refuse planning permission for solar farms and revoke any permission already given. We are now on a war footing so farmland is vital for food production. Will Nicola see the logic of this before Boris?
Clark Cross, Linlithgow, West Lothian
Apparently Nigel Farage – according to a Labour MP speaking in the House of Commons – was paid close to £550,000 by the allegedly propaganda-distilling Russia Today TV channel in 2018.
There are two Scots and former elected politicians who are regularly employed by RT and one would assume they too were paid these astronomical sums. These figures make it even harder to refute the claim that they were all being used as ‘useful idiots’, the phrase used by the old KGB, as the available viewing figures are miniscule.
Messrs Galloway, Salmond and Farage, with the situation in Ukraine as it is, must surely have to reconsider their past or present positions as employees of that discredited channel.
Alexander McKay, Edinburgh
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