THANK you for your reporting of the ScotRail drivers’ pay dispute and the temporary timetable that was introduced on May 23, 2022, with subsequent adverse reaction from passengers, businesses and politicians.

As someone recently retired, who has spent most of their working life in the rail industry, the present post-pandemic position for the Scottish rail network is a fragile one, indeed potentially terminal for some services. The public need to have confidence in their rail services, which includes clean, reliable and affordable travel. The commuting market that existed pre-Covid is no longer present with many people adopting hybrid working arrangements that see them only using the train two or three days each week.

Leisure travel has been growing again, but the recent cancellations and temporary timetable combine to pause this growth area.

Herald readers may be interested to know that the Irish Government recently announced that it is introducing a 20 per cent reduction on all subsidised public transport services until the end of 2022. This includes the services operated by Coras Iompair Eireann (the Irish state transport company), a nationalised entity since January 1945. This initiative is one of several measures to help reduce the rising cost of living throughout Eire. The Irish Government has allocated €54 million to fund the revenue losses, which is in addition to the existing Public Service Obligation (PSO) grant funding of 538m already allocated for public transport in 2022. It includes Iarnrod Eireann (rail), Dublin Bus, Bus Eireann, Luas (tram) and Go-Ahead Ireland.

The Scottish economy would benefit from a similar initiative and the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland should be looking at this initiative. To make this work would require co-operation and collaboration with all public and private operators who operated grant-supported service within Scotland. Where rail is concerned cross-border services would not be included.

This is surely worth considering to try and reduce the cost of living increases affecting people in Scotland as well as supporting the economy, particularly the leisure, hospitality and entertainment sectors. It might even reduce the ScotRail deficit.

Kevin A McCallum, Glasgow.


WHY are our long-distance trains so constantly overcrowded?

My wife and I travelled to Glasgow on the 11.40 out of Fort William last Friday (May 27). The train was exceptionally busy on departure, with every crevice crammed with luggage. Baggage was even piled up in the area reserved for disabled passengers. Take my word: there simply wasn’t room anywhere else, for these are trains never designed to take passengers who might just be carrying rucksacks. Oh, and the four-coach train boasted only two toilets.

For passengers joining en route, it was tough.

Crianlarich, however, produced a nasty bonus. For here, our now-packed four carriages were joined by Glasgow-bound passengers stepping off a two-coach train originating in Oban. The Oban train, due to couple on at Crianlarich, was not due to proceed further, thanks to railway operational reasons that are quite beyond me.

Er … how do you get two more carriages-worth into four already packed coaches? If you’re ScotRail management, you pack ‘em in and you pile ‘em high. And so it was ... men, women, children and their cases, regardless of age or ability, somehow dumped into our existing already-almightily-crowded train, and forced to stand all the way to Glasgow.

Further passengers joining on the way? I don’t know how they fared, for I couldn’t rise out of my seat to see.

ScotRail will of course pass this off as a one-off blip. Curiously, said one-off blips occur so many times, and not just on the West Highland lines.

There isn’t a scale high enough for me to register my scorn for ScotRail and its management.

This incident was the result of industrial action? If so, then don’t expect ScotRail management to remedy it. The same management team allowed Scotland to be paralysed every Sunday last year by industrial action, thus causing endless inconvenience for us poor passengers.

Gordon Casely, Crathes.


I WRITE to support the article by Kara Kennedy concerning the lack of any offiocial event in Glasgow to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee ("Even in Scotland, the Queen surely transcends politics?", The Herald, May 28).

As a born and bred citizen of Glasgow, it fills me with shame that our city council could not instigate such an event rather than waiting for applications. So much for Glaswegian generosity.

(Dr) Hellen Conn, Glasgow.


RE the letter from John McArthur (May 28): it is indeed the case that the worst murderers in history were atheists. Mao and Stalin were no doubt responsible for the worst atrocities of the 20th century. As an atheist myself I think that it is sporting to point out that the worst murderer of all time (also an atheist) was Genghis Khan, thus relegating Mao and Stalin to second and third in the league table.

Dr Alex McMahon, Glasgow.


DAVID Smith’s latest article (“Latest MRI scan forces me to confront own mortality”, Herald Sport, May 28) was powerful, poignant and illuminating; as indeed he is consistently. I can only admire his determination, courage and honesty, and very much hope his latest MRI scan brings some good news.

Best wishes, David.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.


R JOHNSTON (Letters, May 26) remarks that “the Church has to an extent faded into insignificance”. Since without some such qualifying adjective as “great”, the phrase “to an extent” implies rather a minor extent, the sentence seems somewhat paradoxical. This is probably why I was immediately reminded of the exchange:

“I hear that auld Hamish is deid”.

“Naw! Whit did he dee o’?”

“Nae sure. Dinna think it wis onythin’ serious.”

Robin Dow, Rothesay.


LIKE Doug Marr ("Kirk closures undermine our sense of community", The Herald, May 30) I too have found that one’s joie de vivre is dampened somewhat when the nearest and dearest inquires about the music you want at your funeral, and he should be advised that there is a domestic downside to Wish Me Luck When You Wave Me Goodbye.

R Russell Smith, Largs.