Letter: Summer of steam on Scottish line

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your article regarding Railtrack's summer steam "ban"("Steam trains sidelined for the summer", 16 June) is incorrect in its assertion that steam has been banished from the entire Railtrack network: there is one significant exception - the six-days-a-week "Jacobite" steam service, operated by West Coast Railway Company, between Fort William and Mallaig.

This service, now in its third year of operation by this company and running until 26 September, is subject to a rigorous daily fire risk assessment procedure, carried out in conjunction with Railtrack. The 1996 season of over 70 working days, lost no days to problems of fire.

The suggestions by Pete Waterman that those who seek to oppose such a ban are an "irresponsible lunatic fringe" is simply not true. Mr Waterman does not speak for all involved in main-line steam operations and should confine his opinion to subjects about which he has greater knowledge.

JAMES SHUTTLEWORTH

Project Manager

"The Jacobite"

West Coast Railway Co Ltd

Carnforth, Lancashire

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