I TRAVEL widely across Scotland by public transport and there is much commend it (Letters, December 4). Travel from the south west into central Glasgow is relatively simple. On the major, densely populated rail routes joining Ayrshire and Inverclyde with Glasgow, access is generally excellent and services frequent.

Modern, fast, comfortable, electric trains connect the present extremities of the overhead wires effectively into central Glasgow. A few even proceed to Edinburgh, bizarrely via Carstairs with a time consuming reversal. We have some other options.

The major route between Glasgow and Edinburgh is well supplied with trains and will come through its transformation to electricity, given a further supply of patience. May the wires extend eventually to Aberdeen and Inverness. Before this happens, let us deal with the elephant in the room which has trumpeted away interminably for years.

There is a gap across the Clyde where through trains across St Enoch’s bridge have been ignored. In the face of ever depleting resources of land and fossil fuels, there are increasing swathes of tarmac conveying more road traffic along the M8 and A/M77 corridor when the broadly parallel rail corridor remains under developed. Why on earth do we have pockets of single line railway between Glasgow and Kilmarnock, whose train services are operated by 30 year old “Super Sprinters” which are becoming less acceptable with their advancing years? There are rail punctuality figures showing poorer time keeping on lines with single track working.

We need a 21st century railway fairly soon. This would start with electrifying the line across St Enoch’s bridge and having trans-Scottish Flyers from Gourock to Edinburgh, Ayr to Stirling/Alloa as likely routes.

There are ample platforms at both Stirling and Perth to change for onward journeys to Aberdeen and Inverness, where higher fares would be readily forthcoming. It is a great, oft-repeated option so let’s just add initiative to make it work.

Graham Lund,

Dalrymple Street, Girvan.

I WELCOME the extra trains and improved journey times that the new Abellio ScotRail (ASR) timetables on December 9 will bring. After this week’s experience of cancelled services across Scotland because of “crew shortages”, it brings into question how many of the extra services will actually operate. Faster journeys are also to be welcomed but the new timetable extends journey times on a number of services.

For instance, the 13.36 train from Edinburgh to Inverness, due to arrive there this week at 16.54 is scheduled to arrive at 17.07 from December 10.

The present 15.41 train from Queen Street to Aberdeen is due to arrive at 18.13, in time to connect with the 18.22 train to Elgin and Inverness. From December 10, it departs earlier from Queen Street at 15.39 but is not due to arrive in Aberdeen until 18.22, the time that the north service leaves. The next north train leaves at 20.14.

This week, the 16.41 train from Queen Street takes two hours and 34 minutes to reach Aberdeen but from next week it will become the 16.42 and will take two hours and 53 minutes.

The present stop at Stonehaven is replaced by Montrose. Oddly, the train leaves Arbroath only five minutes later next week but arrives in Aberdeen 19 minutes later than at present.

In all cases, the number of intermediate stops is unchanged but the journey times increase by 13, 11 and 19 minutes respectively. For this, we will have to pay higher fares from January.

Is this now the ASR approach to improving on-time performance, by adding at least 10 minutes to journey times? My goodness, ASR will probably be telling us soon about how many of its trains arrive early; all part of the “best railway Scotland has ever had”.

Douglas Clark,

88 Duncan Drive, Elgin.

“WE’RE building the best railway Scotland’s ever had” is the mantra repeated by Abellio ScotRail (ASR), Transport Scotland and Transport Minister Michael Matheson. But beware: “building this best railway” includes slowing major services.

The new timetables for ASR coming into operation this Sunday contain longer journey times.

My suspicion is that longer journey times are being created to disguise the poor timekeeping record of ASR. This year, 2018, goes down as the worst for timekeeping since privatisation began in 1994.

So, with the new timetable, ASR will be able to claim a larger percentage of trains arriving early or on time. For these slower rates of travel, we long-suffering passengers travel in the poorest quality long-distance trains in Europe. For these privileges, we have a fares rise in January.

Gordon Casely,

Westerton Cottage,