IT appears that the SNP’s dream of a nationalised rail service has quickly turned into a nightmare, with services decimated and workers – the new owners of Scotrail – unable to get home from their jobs without significant costs, delays and inconveniences.

Once again, the hospitality industry will be particularly hard-hit with reduced customer footfall and staff having to depart early or be taxied home.

We know that there has been a major error made when the First Minister withdraws and, just like the ferries, Jenny Gilruth, the hapless minister responsible, is thrust into the frontline to take the flak.

Her solution apparently lies in 38 new drivers being trained by the end of the summer, rising to 55 by the year-end and 100 by June 2023.

This does not take into account retirals, and others leaving the industry; and, call me old-fashioned, but won’t the shiny new employees also be joining a union? Scotrail, by the way, believes they shall need 130 drivers.

Looking at the bigger picture, as the railways are now owned by the people of Scotland, their pay rises will be seen by all public employees as the gold standard to be applied across the public sector pay and remuneration increases this year: this shall be very costly for the Scottish Government.

The transport minister cites that the drivers already earn £50,000-plus per annum. Wasn’t this commensurate with their employment? And is the she really advocating that employees should reduce their pay and conditions? This is socialism at its very best.

Once again, things were not thought through and, once again, “lessons will have to be learned.”

“Be careful what you wish for, they might come true,” might be one.

Peter Wright, West Kilbride, Ayrshire.




I SUPPOSE the current rail fiasco of cancellations – apologies, not cancellations but “temporary timetables” – helps to deflect from the ongoing ferry cancellations.

Sheila Watson, Giffnock.

* JUST over two years ago, pre-pandemic, in early 2020, Abellio Scotrail was running four trains per hour in each direction on its flagship line, Edinburgh-Glasgow via Falkirk High, between 07:00 and 19:00 six days per week.

That’s a lot of drivers.

The service post-pandemic is now two trains per hour. Perhaps we could get an explanation as to where those drivers went prior to April 1st this year?

Patricia Fort, Glasgow.


IN the same week as the newly nationalised Scotrail trains are cut by a third, it has been announced that a wee silver casket dubiously linked to the cult of Mary Queen of Scots, has been bought by National Museums Scotland for £1.8 million. You couldn’t make it up. What an incredible use of public funds. Scotland, what are you doing ?

Jamie Mulherron, Lyon, France.




WHEN I heard the news that ScotRail would become the responsibility of the Scottish government and I realised that it was April 1st, I should have known what would happen.

This time, Nicola Sturgeon cannot blame anyone else. This time her name is boldly engraved on a plaque dated April 1st. Another ‘transport tragedy’ is unfolding.

I cannot imagine people living in our island communities planning a trip to Glasgow or Edinburgh, first with a ferry journey and then a train journey or two. It certainly is not a fun prospect and I’m glad I don’t live on an island.

Based on the recent performance of this Scottish government, headed by Nicola Sturgeon, as well as the controversy of the big sell-off of our seabed, I’m truly glad the SNP didn’t go ahead with the establishment of a Scottish Energy Company, as things are bad enough.

I cannot even imagine how much worse it would be if Nicola and government tinkered with it

A well-known saying comes to mind: ‘the blind leading the blind’.

Jo Bloomfield, Edinburgh.




IN totally agreeing with your views on the latest issues affecting Scotland’s transport infrastructure (Herald View, May 21) I cannot help but wonder at the lack of co-operative decision-making that seems to be the prevailing situation between the parties involved.

I daresay that dialogue is happening, but not being reported just yet.

While the RMT and Aslef are fighting for their members, just who is fighting for the passengers who use the trains and ferries that are operated by their members?

If, as you fear, the dispute drags on and passengers desert rail and there is a spiral of decline, then the loss of railway jobs will be catastrophic for the very union members that the RMT and Aslef are working for.

How can these unions forget their historical activities that led to closures in many industries and investment moved out of the UK as a result? All in the name of fighting for their members.

Can they not see that working with management and owners to make particular industries more efficient will lead to greater customer usage and improved revenue that should in time lead to improved incomes and conditions?

Investment will also be a positive outcome leading to more career and job opportunities; a win-win situation?

In terms of initiatives that might bring in more business to rail and ferry operations, here are a couple of thoughts.

London Heathrow operates a Heathrow Express train service to Paddington station. Why can’t there be a Prestwick Express operating to Glasgow Central station? If Glasgow’s Crossrail is ever reinstated, think of the other cities in Scotland that could benefit. Prestwick could be the holiday charter flight hub for Scotland. RMT and Aslef should think of the job and membership opportunities.

And what about the ferries? I read that M.V.Hebrides is out of action for a while and that Arran is again to have a reduced service. Will the RMT not see that they could become the ‘Heroes’ if they actively helped in getting some vessels, even on a short-term charter basis, to help Scotland’s island communities?

The talk that CMAL may even reject the Glen Sannox and Hull 802 does not bear thinking about.

Please, RMT and Aslef, work to earn the benefits you want for your members by remembering that it is the passengers that will support you by choosing to use the trains and ferries that you operate.

No service = no customers = closures = no jobs = no union members.

Ian Gray, Croftamie.




I NOTICE that Frances Scott in her letter (May 20) reveals the same flawed mindset that permeates many of the separatists’ letters in believing that the SNP government provide “free” services and goodies, when in fact we pay for them through our taxes which, of course, are the highest in the UK.

One wonders when they will realise that this freebie nonsense is an insult to intelligence. It fails to hoodwink the very people they are trying to impress – and, indeed, has the very opposite effect.

James Martin, Glasgow.




IN late March you published a letter from a correspondent who complained about the unnecessary on-going publicity regarding the debacle concerning the ferries et al.

Since then, this topic has been more extensively aired as events have unfolded than any I can recently remember.

It is clear that there is an increasing public demand for clarity and culpability.

This is not forthcoming, except by way of a suggestion that “Once the contract has been fulfilled and the ferries are sailing the matter will be looked into”. Aye and och aye, as the saying goes.

Perhaps a correspondent more experienced than myself could tell us how matters may be speeded up, in view of the reluctance of Holyrood.

It is clear that “no heads will roll”, as once promised. It seems that there is no way all the facts will ever emerge until those in the know have sailed into the sunset.

Robin Johnston, Newton Mearns.

* I INITIALLY disagreed with calls for a public inquiry into the ferries saga: such things are a way for governments to postpone the reckoning on controversial issues. But the longer this fiasco drags on, the more I think we really need to get to the bottom of it all. An inquiry would probably be of great assistance.

S. Scott, Glasgow.

* THE letter from Richard Richardson (May 20) stating that Ferguson’s Shipyard on the Clyde had no track record of building ferries of this size is wrong. Two of the largest ferries in the CalMac fleet were built there – the Isle of Mull and the Isle of Lewis.

J. Morrison, Inchinnan, Renfrew.