Letter: Less track means more tears

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The Independent Online
CHRISTIAN Wolmar's 'Who needs railways?' (21 August) was informative and fair. But in considering the relative merits of the car and railways, he omitted to mention accidents and their cost to the taxpayer in terms of money and grief.

Child pedestrian casualties on the roads average 20,600 a year. Because the guilt we suffer is collective, we are all able to ignore it, especially as the law allows this. How many child pedestrians are injured by trains in a year? Not one.

How much does it cost the health service to deal with the 310,000 people killed or severely injured on the roads each year? The figure is never publicised. What is the cost to the police of dealing with cars and traffic? The figure is never publicised. What proportion of crime is related to the car? The figure is never publicised. Why are there no 'bobbies' walking around our neighbourhoods? Because they are all in their cars policing the roads.

The railways give us an almost accident-free service and an almost environmentally perfect form of transport. Why do we not calculate the true cost of the car and relate that to the subsidy to the railways? Because a car is a blessing to the individual, we do not want to consider the public curse it represents.

J Wright

Rugby, Warkwickshire

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