I AM inclined to believe that the formulation of transport policy in this country is now in the hands of the Keystone Kops. For example, you reported recently (July 26) that “new diesel and petrol cars and vans will be banned from 2040 as parts of efforts to tackle air pollution”. However, just the week before, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling sparked fury by scrapping rail electrification plans, most notably for the Great Western London- Swansea; Midland Main line, and Lake District lines, and proposing to order bi-mode (that is, diesel and electric) trains instead. One could simply not make it up.

That is bad enough, but we were constantly told that we were going to get continued modernisation of the existing rail network and HS2 and that the vast sums expended on HS2 will not drain funds from the existing network. This wholesale abandonment of electrification projects would appear to give the lie to these assertions.

The £42.6 billion expended on Phases 1 and 2 of HS2 for infrastructure, plus £7.5bn for new rolling stock, would have been much better expended on improving existing lines – particularly in Scotland, the north of England, Devon, Cornwall and Wales. Even in busy Manchester, they were fobbed off recently with 30 year-old Class 319 units, shunted up from London’s Thameslink lines, while London’s new Elizabeth, or Crossrail, line, is inevitably to receive brand new stock. At least Manchester’s ancient units are better than what commuters had to tolerate before.

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Here in Scotland, we have many inadequate, near 30-year-old, diesel suburban units still linking Glasgow and Edinburgh with Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness, Fort William, Kyle, Mallaig, Wick and Thurso, and several 38 year-old electric units on the Glasgow suburban lines. However, we can look forward to receiving some 40 year-old HST units, shunted up here for our longer-distance services, in consequence of the (now partial) electrification of the Great Western line. It may be noted that, while we continue to be fobbed off with 30-40 year-old trains and diesel traction, just about every line in the rugged land of Norway, even those serving the remotest regions, have long been electrified and using modern stock.

And finally, while on the subject of air pollution, don’t get me started on your report about the third runway for London Heathrow; the $1 billion programme to double the size of Manchester’s Terminal 2, and the record numbers of passengers that are being encouraged to travel through Glasgow, Edinburgh and other airports. (“Warning over crowded skies as one plane flies in UK every 10 seconds”, The Herald, July 22) As I said before, one could simply not make it up.

Robert D. Campbell,

48 McLean Place, Paisley.

THANK you for publishing letters recently about the need for reform of ScotRail's ticket pricing (Letters, July 24 & 25). I have approached my MSP several times over the years about fare anomalies.

The replies, whatever the source, be it ScotRail, the Minister for Transport or Transport Scotland have all said that the majority of anomalies were inherited from previous franchise holders. I was assured by the then Minister for Transport that the Government would take the opportunity of the new franchise agreement to deal with fare anomalies.

In fact, things have got worse under Abellio ScotRail. Take the case of a single from Elgin to Glasgow where the walk-up fare is £65.90, regardless of whether it's via Aviemore or Aberdeen or the time of travel, as the only fare is an Anytime single.

Those in the know buy a single to Nairn and then another single from there to Glasgow (via Aviemore) at a combined cost of £48.80, saving £17.10. Even a person asking at the booking office will be sold the more expensive ticket as ScotRail feels under no obligation to tell an intending passenger that it is cheaper to buy two tickets. The saving from Forres is even greater, as the single fare costs the same as from Elgin.

If you travel from Elgin to Glasgow via Aberdeen, the same situation applies. It is cheaper to buy a single Elgin to Huntly at £9.40 and then a single Huntly to Glasgow at £42.30, a combined fare of £51.70, thus saving £14.20 on the cost of a through ticket from Elgin.

In British Rail days, there were higher fares via Aberdeen and lower fares via Aviemore. The booking clerks always asked which route before selling a ticket and if you were going out one route and back the other they would sell a return ticket at the average of the two fares. Those were the days.

Neither Abellio ScotRail nor the Scottish Government seems willing to do anything about these absurd fare anomalies.

Douglas Clark,

88 Duncan Drive, Elgin.

I AM pleased that the recent survey showed an improvement in how rail commuters view their train service (“ScotRail back on track and travellers are a little happier”, The Herald, July 26). However I again bemoan the fact that the delay in the start of the electric service between Glasgow and Edinburgh means those travelling on the Glasgow to Wemyss Bay line will continue to have to put up with ancient coaches with no facilities. Never mind Wi-Fi, how about toilets?

Alison Masterson,

9 Kip Avenue, Inverkip.