I DO hope that his statements about “building a better railway” don’t betray a dangerous ignorance about the structure of railway financing on the part of Michael Matheson, Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Secretary, or his civil servants.

The point is that Abellio doesn’t really build or own anything significant on our railways: the track and stations are owned by Network Rail and the trains that run on the rails are leased from one or other of the ROSCO’s (Rolling Stock Operating Companies – a bonanza outcome of Margaret Thatcher’s reprivatisation) such as Porterbrook or Lombard.

Abellio’s job is simply to manage its services using all this infrastructure; although “simply” is undoubtedly unfair given the dismal performance lately of Network Rail in particular, it should be on its conduct as a manager and not a “builder” that Abellio should be judged.

Brian Chrystal,

55 Craiglockhart Road,