I WAS delighted to read that John Mason MSP is calling for Glasgow Crossrail to be implemented ("MP calls for new station and rail line in Glasgow", The Herald, May 16). This has the potential to make trans-Scotland journeys by rail much more attractive, especially to car drivers, removing the necessity to travel between Queen Street and Central to complete their journeys.

But where has Mr Mason been for the past decade or so? The late Ken Sutherland and Roddy McDougall of Railfuture Scotland first produced these proposals around 2011 and duly carried out the required Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) evaluation. They showed that the addition of just 3km (1.8 miles) of track to the existing freight lines plus stations at Glasgow Cross, Citizens Theatre (Gorbals) and West Street would connect both the Inverclyde and Ayrshire lines with those to Stirling, Fife, Dundee and Aberdeen, enabling seamless coast-to-coast rail services as well as reducing the congestion at Central and Queen Street. In fact a better name would be Scotland's Crossrail, so great would be the effect of such a straightforward project upon rail travel throughout Scotland.

Unfortunately neither the Scottish Government nor Glasgow City Council appeared the slightest bit interested, refusing to safeguard strategic sites and dismissing the idea in favour of grandiose plans which involved drilling a tunnel under the Clyde, a project of such magnitude, complexities and cost that it is never likely to come to pass.

Nevertheless Mr Mason's espousal of the Crossrail proposal, though late in the day, is very welcome; there is much rejoicing in Heaven over one sinner that repenteth, as the Good Book says, and I hope he can persuade his colleagues in Holyrood to likewise add their support.

Jane Ann Liston, Secretary, Railfuture Scotland, St Andrews.

Getting close to a police state

ADAM Tomkins ("You have the right to free speech, but not to disrupt the lives of others", The Herald, May 17) presents a very disturbing assessment of the right to peaceful protest. Particularly concerning is that he is a former politician and is a professor of public law. He is supporting the right of the police to make pre-emptive arrests of protesters, that are now so broad that any public dissent can be shut down. These powers would not be out of place in a police state.

Gwen Marriott, Glasgow.

Read more: We should have women-only times in Scotland's parks

I feel sorry for the decent men

MY late husband, Jim, watched, whilst sitting on a wall waiting for a bus in Inverness, as a small girl fell over nearby and he felt unable to help her in case he was accused of harming the wee mite. He was using walking sticks after a recent knee replacement but even so felt upset that he couldn't help. That was in the 1990s and it looks as if things are getting worse ("We should have women-only times in Scotland's parks", Kerry Hudson, The Herald, May 17).

Whilst I feel upset that Ms Hudson is constrained to suggest women-only times in parks I have to also feel sad that it is decent men who will be prevented, possibly as grandfathers, from taking their wee relatives to feed the ducks and maybe just run about and enjoy life in the park whenever they wish.

Perhaps I have just been one of life's lucky people who has been able to enjoy male company at some odd times and in odd places. After concerts in Edinburgh, whilst waiting for the late-night bus in the bus station, some very interesting conversations have taken place; one even becoming the theme of a short story. I often think of Jim when he used to feel sad that being a man made him feel constrained from helping women and girls when they needed assistance. Do we now have to think that this is what life has brought us to ... that some men are to be allowed to spoil it for the other decent ones? I feel angry about it.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.

Restore houses to town centres

TO reverse the current demise of rent and tax-paying commercial shops in increasingly deserted town centres as discussed by Colin Green (Letters, May 17), those centres need to be made more accessible and attractive to shoppers to counter the ease of shopping at out of town malls. One partial solution could be to return the centres, as far as is reasonably possible, to their origins by converting some of the empty shops back into dwellings.

This would have the triple whammy of providing much-needed housing, reviving population footfall there to create demand for the return of the wide range of shops necessary to meet the needs of that footfall, and regenerating tax and rental income, all generating the revival of those town centres.

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.

Tell me no lies

LET'S hope there has indeed been no "prevarication" over implementation of laws relating to children, given that to prevaricate is to tell lies ("Gilruth insists no UNCRC confusion", The Herald, May 17). Jenny Gilruth probably means "procrastination" but it's a pity she doesn't appear to know the difference, seeing that she's Education Secretary.

Brian Chrystal, Edinburgh.

Drilling down

IT was with alarm that I read the heading "Glasgow dentist sold for first time" (The Herald, May 16).

As we can ill afford to see dentists in Scotland being sold off, I was relieved to further read that the sale was limited to the dental practice involved, and that presumably no dentist was harmed in the sale.

Malcolm Allan, Bishopbriggs.

Buses and a separate drive

I NOTE Alison Ram’s letter May 17) regarding computers and driverless buses. My computer actually has a universal serial bus built in. Unfortunately it doesn’t take passengers though it’s not averse to taking prisoners.

Indeed when in use it has a disturbing tendency to send out alarming messages such as “would you like to eject?” despite the fact I’m sitting comfortably in my chair. In frustration I’ve often resorted to manual mode by pulling out the USB connection – only for the computer to say “Gonnae no dae that”. Methinks it’s getting too big for its reboots.

Robert Menzies, Falkirk.