Letter: Investment in railway safety

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The Independent Online
Sir: Before computers took over the railways, points at the entry to single lines were interlocked with the signals, so that if a train entered the single line without permission it simply ran into a sand drag, and little harm was done.

Nowadays in most cases the points have been removed and if the train, for whatever reason, sets off, there is nothing to stop it, if the driver ignores or overrides the warning he gets. I have only to look a few miles from here at the loop at Maiden Newton to see this 'economy' in practice.

Even if automatic train controls are introduced on all lines, which will actually stop the train regardless of the actions of the driver, I would much prefer the mechanical safety of the sand drag to the possible malfunction of an electronic device.

Yours faithfully, BILL PUTNAM Dorchester, Dorset 18 October