Letter: Traffic choices

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The Independent Culture
Letter: Traffic choices

Sir: It was with great disappointment that I read your random list of why passengers are supposedly unhappy with Britain's railways (report, 28 July).

Everyone in the industry is aware of the enormous job still to be done to rebuild the network after decades of under-investment. But to pick 30 "incidents", purely to highlight the problems facing the network, is to ignore the more significant improvements now taking place.

For example: pounds 20bn being spent on the network by 2004, the biggest programme for 40 years; pounds 3bn spent on new rolling stock; a real fall in the level of fares across the system; 100 million more passengers using the network every year; the appointment of 1,200 new security guards; improved passenger information systems; pounds 1bn spent on station refurbishment; the recruitment of 800 new drivers this year alone; the targeting of over 30 "bottlenecks" which have led to delay and capacity problems; improvements in rail safety, to the extent that rail travel is no less than 15 times safer than the car.

Building a railway we can all be proud of will take time. Your criticism will not deflect us from our task.

DAVID MORPHET

Director General

The Railway Forum

London SW1

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