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Tunnel visions and the romance of the railways in Scotland | Letters

Ian Jack (A tunnel linking Scotland and Northern Eire? Delusion has changed British modesty, 19 February) discussed “an infinite munitions unload at the seabed” at the direction of the proposed rail tunnel between Scotland and Northern Eire. The unload lies within the Beaufort Dyke, a deep trench within the North Channel. I reported its presence just about 30 years in the past for BBC Information. The Ministry of Defence at the beginning advised me that it had dumped munitions there because the finish of the second one international conflict, that it knew what they had been and that they totalled round 100,000 tonnes.

Some months later, with British Gasoline by means of then making plans an undersea pipeline there, the MoD rang me with an replace. It were the usage of the dyke because the finish of the primary international conflict, it mentioned. It didn’t know what munitions had been down there, however the general was once about one million tonnes. I’d fancy my possibilities of crossing the North Channel in a tunnel as low as on a bridge.
Alex Kirby
Atmosphere correspondent, BBC Information, 1987-95

• A tunnel between Galloway and Northern Eire isn’t as ridiculous as Ian Jack suggests. First, the gauge distinction needn’t be a drawback. Thru trains have for many years hooked up France and Spain with a metamorphosis of gauge on the border. 2nd, it isn’t London that will ever make this isle’s facet of the case for the tunnel, however Glasgow. Glasgow-Aberdeen is a thriving direction of an identical duration that has now not carried London site visitors south of Dundee since sooner than I used to be born.

The saving of 2 adjustments of delivery mode would become Glasgow-Belfast right into a an identical direction, with Ayr serving as Stirling’s counterpart. There may also be in a single day Aberdeen-Dublin trains.
Charles Gilman
Mitcham, London

• A tunnel between Northern Eire and Scotland will not be entire delusion. In keeping with Alpine tunnelling prices, it might value round £30bn – a few 3rd of the price of HS2 and a lot better worth for cash.
Martin Mansell
Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire

• Ian Jack, in his splendidly elegiac piece about railways within the south of Scotland, refers to The Thirty-9 Steps. He may even have discussed every other novel set in that space the place railways performed a the most important section: The 5 Pink Herrings by means of Dorothy L Sayers, printed in 1931, the place a lot of the plot hinges on educate occasions. As she says within the foreword, “the entire trains are actual trains”, and my replica includes a detailed railway map of the ones now unfortunately long-gone strains.
Ian Arnott
Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

• The Galloway railway line is also deserted and its stations simply reminiscences, however now not all its glories are misplaced. My father, a typical passenger at New Galloway station (in the community claimed for Richard Hannay’s preliminary arrival in Galloway in The Thirty-9 Steps), controlled to safe two of the station lighting fixtures when the road closed. They now shine out over very other landscapes at my sister’s area in Sussex and ours in Devon.
Sally Jaine
Blackawton, Devon

• Ian Jack refers to “a scheme to hyperlink Scotland (or Nice Britain because it nonetheless is) to Northern Eire”. Let me reassure him that, until the SNP has radical plans certainly, Stranraer will proceed to be at the island of Nice Britain for the foreseeable long run. I must upload that I’m more than happy to peer Ian Jack again within the Parent on Saturdays. I’m hoping he’s right here to stick.
Philip Bromberg
Wembley, London

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