Rail farce

Recent letters to The Scotsman in support of rail privatisation ignore the outstanding success of Directly Operated Railways.

East Coast Trains turned a twice-failed franchise into one with record punctuality and customer satisfaction.

East Coast under government ownership returned a £1 billion profit for the taxpayer while privatised companies garnered billions in subsidies to make profits for their shareholders.

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In 2013-14, East Coast Trains generated a net surplus of £23 million, which was returned to the government. In the same period Virgin West Coast cost the government £225m, yet still gave £10m to its shareholders.

Actually, our railways are partly nationalised just now – by European state companies.

Some 14 rail franchises are controlled by foreign state-owned companies.

Arriva, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn, runs Chiltern, Cross Country, Grand Central, London Overground and Wales and Borders.

Keolis, controlled by the French state, runs exclusively, or in partnership, London Midland, Southern, South Eastern, Thameslink, Northern, and Trans-Pennine.

Abellio, the Dutch state company – originally branded 
NedRailways and granted the £2.5bn Scotrail franchise by the SNP administration – also controls Greater Anglia, Northern, and Merseyrail. What a farce!

William Loneskie

Justice Park

Lauder, Berwickshire

It is disappointing that the fast, frequent and heavily used rail service between Edinburgh and Glasgow is being suspended for six weeks this summer (your report, 7 March).

Little publicity has been given to the equally frequent but somewhat slower already electrified services via Bathgate.

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They are a good alternative for many commuters, offering through services to High Street and Charing Cross, eliminating the need to decend to a low-level station.

ScotRail passengers need to see an immediate post-closure benefit. Would an extra services at 19:45 and 21:15 between Waverley and Glasgow fit the bill?

Colin C Maclean

Hillpark Avenue


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