On wrong track

Transport minister Stewart Stevenson must be wondering where he can find £290 million to upgrade SPT's Glasgow Underground, a proposal projected to save £100m in running costs and increase passenger traffic by 40 per cent (your report, 14 April). I have an easy answer for him.

The proposed slow and infrequent Borders railway service, now priced at 295m can, based on comparable lines recently reopened, generate only 600,000 journeys. Its main target, Galashiels, is a town of only 13,000, one in 30 of whom might be commuters.

It will cost 7m a year in losses, if it performs in line with other rural routes, to run. The environmental benefits are spuriously claimed (apparently based on train emissions and fuel consumption data for flat routes, which the old Waverley line certainly is not) . The same predicted average savings of 7,250 tonnes per annum for the railway could be replicated by upgrading boilers, insulation, etc, for 1,500 houses at 10,000 each– only 15m would be needed to match the alleged environmental effect of the rail line.

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The Glasgow Subway already serves 13m travellers and its retention and improvement beats the Borders line for value and benefits on every count. Surely it's time for the SNP administration to change trains?

PETER SMAILL

Currie Mains House

Borthwick, Midlothian