Wednesday 13 October 2021 2:00 pm

Letters: the many trains of Scotland

[Re: Sturgeon’s dismal domestic record has derailed the SNP’s train of separatism, 8th October]

It was an odd choice of metaphor with the “derailed train of separatism” for Nicola Sturgeon. Whatever the Scottish government’s other successes and failures, railways, and especially electrifying the Central Belt, are its crowning triumph.

From just one rather indirect route when devolution began, the wires have now gone up over the remaining five routes from Edinburgh to Glasgow. No messing around with battery propulsion, hydrogen cells, bi-mode trains, or other such distractions.

Genuine devolution has brought genuine electrification.

Whether this is a triumph of the union is debatable, but it is clearly a triumph of devolution over what went before, for what went before still goes in England. Indeed there seems to be a hierarchy of success.

The Great Western electrification has reached Cardiff, home of this island’s only other truly devolved government, but not Bristol, which has ranked among England’s top ten cities for centuries. The Midland line electrification languishes in a similar incomplete state. Just one of the three routes between Manchester and Liverpool is electrified, and none east out of Manchester to the  Yorkshire cities.

The prospect of electrification across the country from Hull to Plymouth is nowhere in sight. It is in England that “derailing” is an apter metaphor.

Charles E. L. Gilman

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.