I don’t know where Oliver Healey does his rail commuting but I don’t think high fares are the worst problem on the trains. (Read Mr Healey’s letter here) In the London area the problem is that there is so much traffic that major capital investment is needed. Crossrail One is under construction and there is already talk of Crossrail Two. The line out of Paddington is currently being electrified at vast cost.
Outside London the short-term problem is lack of rolling stock. There are just not enough trains to carry the existing traffic. In a few years time, there will be enough trains but profits will still be hard to come by. One ingenious proposal is to reuse old district line trains for local diesel services. This is a better use of taxpayers’ money than making fares tax deductible.
If train fares get this concession, what about road transport costs?
Turning to Granville Stone, the bit I don’t understand is how President Assad got himself into this mess in the first place. Never mind freedom and democracy, what about the price of diesel fuel and other basic items? He should have been more skilful in keeping the masses happy - ‘bread and circuses’ the Romans used to say. He should have studied the British aristocracy who avoided revolution on several occasions.
As it is his antics are costing the British taxpayer quite a lot of money in humanitarian aid, although this doesn’t hit the headlines.
Cressy Road, Alfreton