THE row over cross-border train operators possibly not following Scottish Covid rules is connected to a series of myths perpetuated by ScotRail, the Scottish Government, British Transport Police and others. Other than at main stations (for example, on Monday there was a queuing system at Glasgow Central for Glasgow Fair day-trippers to Largs), there is no organised or consistent enforcing of Covid (or any other) rules on ScotRail trains.

Ticket-checking staff are just that; they are recruited, trained and paid to issue tickets, and to a very limited extent, assist the driver in emergency situations. They are not recruited, trained and paid to act as security guards and are advised, both by managers and unions, to avoid all confrontational situations. Conductors have a different role (including opening and closing doors on relevant units) but they are in the same situation as ticket staff. During the past 15 months, I have witnessed many occasions when on-train staff (whether ticket collectors or conductors) made no effort whatsoever to go through the train to check on tickets, Covid masks, anything.

Travelling on ScotRail trains can be a frightening experience especially for vulnerable people (and I include lone females in that broad category). Anti-social thugs of all descriptions can get on and off trains at non-main-line stations with impunity; once the doors close you are stuck until the next stop. Openly drinking alcohol, especially in the evenings and weekends, has become part of the train culture; the current ban is welcome but as with everything else there is no means of enforcement. British Transport Police does not have enough officers to provide a physical presence at all stations and trains; it relies on CCTV/reports from rail staff/passengers and often arrive at the scene after local Police Scotland officers have attended (for any serious incidents).

So it is a myth to suggest that Covid rules have been actively enforced on ScotRail services and it is a myth to suggest that train travel in Scotland is a safe and pleasant experience, especially in the evenings when the hordes emerge and rail staff are often conspicuous by their absence on trains and at unmanned stations.

Ian Davidson, Glasgow.


I NOTE a very interesting piece from the architect of the new improved Queen Street Station ("Behind rebirth of Glasgow Queen Street", Agenda, The Herald, July 20). I travelled through it twice in the last week. Beautiful to look I agree, but as far as the passenger is concerned, nowhere to buy a paper, a cup of coffee or a sandwich.

Bit of style over substance meantime.

Celia Judge, Ayr.


IT is not only people who received their Covid vaccine through their GP who have incorrect NHS records of their vaccination.

I had my first vaccination in February at a mass vaccination centre following a telephone call from NHS Tayside to arrange an appointment. I had my second at the same centre in April following an official NHS Tayside appointment letter. (Which didn't contain a user name, but that's not the point of this letter.)

Some time later I received another letter inviting me for a second appointment. I emailed in response giving chapter and verse on the second jab I'd already had. Next I received a phone call inviting me for a second appointment. The caller was told I'd already had it but showed no interest in recording the details.

Today I checked my status on NHS Inform. Guess what: my record shows I've only had one jab.

Dave Gordon, Scone.


LOCKDOWN has been an experience, but as we come out of it an opportunity arises to reclaim our pavements ,which are of importance to the poorly-sighted and the infirm.

During lockdown, it seems to have become the norm to cycle on pavements (an increasing risk with the introduction of new e-scooters). Those who do so seem to be unaware that to do so is contrary to the Highway Code and nor do they seem to appreciate any such suggestion.

As ever, the solution is education. At the same time it might be of benefit to provide some education in relation to the dropping of litter.

The previous law sensibly allowed enforcers to make a first request that they get off the pavement or pick up their litter. In the age of computers that could be followed up by a first warning, after which a fixed penalty notice.

All that seems to be required is the will to enforce such a system.

Richard NM Anderson, Advocate, Edinburgh.


IN the light of CalMac's statement that "given the Loch Shira's age" (15 years) "people can expect more breakdowns than usual" ("Millport route vessel breaks down", The Herald, July 19), it's interesting to note that when the paddle steamer Iona was retired after 72 years in service, because her passenger accommodation was considered out of date, the Glasgow Herald remarked that she had been built "before metal fatigue had been invented".

Perhaps the warning attributed to Dan Macphail over a century ago, concerning depending on motor vessels, should have been heeded. "Gie me a good compound engine; nane o' yer hurdy-gurdies."

Robin Dow, Rothesay.


ONE more interesting fact about Sir Percy Sillitoe ("Remember when... Sir Percy Sillitoe bid farewell to Glasgow, 1943", The Herald, July 21): he invented and installed the chequered bands on police caps which are now in use in most police forces around the world.

Simon Paterson, Glasgow.