CALLS for a cohesive transport strategy as made on these pages (Letters, January 25, 26 & 27) are extremely relevant and are to be encouraged, but the task of actually bringing that about may be much more difficult than first appears. We have a car crash of established policy clashing with short-term political ambition which will be very difficult to bring back to anything like the workable guidelines normally used to shape and direct investment to optimum effect.

In the last few weeks we have seen that in action with particular reference to our railways, where the message appears to be very much tied to the promise of “jam tomorrow”. We have seen the announcement of the “tram-train” serving Glasgow Airport (10 years away); the cancellation then non-cancellation of the High Speed Link between Glasgow and Edinburgh (more than 15 years away); the promise of trains every ten minutes to and from the capital (10 years away) and an extension of the Borders Railway through to Carlisle (again more than 10 years distant).

These long term ambitions should be set against the consultation being carried out by Network Rail for how it will manage the Scottish network over the period to the end of the next decade to 2029. However, the underlying message which comes behind that is there is no room for new investment outwith that already highlighted. Although presented as an independent study, it does appear to uncannily follow the current aspirations of the Scottish Government. In short, it would appear that, for example, those who aspire to see the City Union Line in Glasgow brought into greater use (that is, Crossrail) are going to be disappointed – no matter that it makes tremendous sense.

This whole idea of holding ambitions or aspirations for our railways is also being attacked by the Scottish Government’s approach to land use planning where the “aspirational” projects of local councils and local communities are being forcefully discouraged.

Finally, all but emphasising the mess of the current position, we had the Transport Minister last week calling for a full strategy review in the next Parliament (“Critics hit out over ‘wasted’ years to boost green travel”, The Herald, January 22).

So, we have the Scottish Government declaring a plethora of aspirational projects but discouraging this at local level; Network Rail consulting on a 15-year plan but resistant to new ideas within that period; and a suggested overall strategy review after the Network Rail 15 year plan is finalised.

We are eons away from a cohesive transport strategy.

William Forbes,

23 Greenlees Park, Cambuslang.

WHY does David Spaven (Letters, January 27) think delays on the Borders Railway are due to the limited proportion of double track? Does he know what percentage of these delays are due to trains waiting until others pass? If so, he should tell us.

I see no reason that the present provision should not be able to carry the four trains per hour without them having to do this. There may be other reasons for the delays. ScotRail surely knows the cause of each delay. It should say what these are.

John Munro,

68 Buccleuch Street, Glasgow.