YOUR correspondent John Macnab (Letters, February 9) made the case for rail infrastructure investment north of Perth to Aberdeen.

The following day, the cement train was late and delayed the 07.10 Glasgow Queen Street to Inverness passenger train by 55 minutes on the single-track line north of Perth.

It is really good that the Borders Railway is nearing completion, but the focus now needs to turn to improving capacity to the north. The lines between the cities of Perth and Inverness and between Inverness and Aberdeen are mainly single track and consequently suffer from chronic congestion. The 07.10 had to wait for 24 minutes at Dalwhinnie and it was Carrbridge before a loop could be found for it to overtake the cement train.

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce have long campaigned for a first arrival in Inverness soon after 9am. Imagine the inconvenience caused to all the passengers, and especially those with business appointments, that their first possible arrival of 10.27 turned out to be 11.22.

The retail industry would like to have their goods in to Inverness by 8 am but there isn't the capacity for more freight trains to do so. This is not just a Highland problem. It affects the economy of Scotland plc.

The line from Perth to Inverness would benefit more than any other in journey time savings from electrification because electric trains would be so much superior on the long hills over Drumochter and Slochd. Couple this with a good measure of doubling and you start to get a railway fit for purpose and fit for the future. This should be coupled with Transform Scotland's call for the reopening of a much faster direct line between Perth and Edinburgh. Electrify that, and Mr Macnab's dream of reopening the Strathmore route to Aberdeen could be next giving Aberdeen, once again, a choice of routes and capacity to the south.

R J Ardern

26A Southside Road, Inverness.