WHILE I agree with R Goscinski that rail re-nationalisation would be preferable to the dog’s breakfast we have now (Letters, January 11), I would not be keen to return to old British Rail.

Those with long enough memories will recall a nationalised industry which (like many others) was run more for the benefit of the employees than the public. Any improvements to service had to be negotiated with unions who would insist on pay rises.

The travelling public came well down the pecking order, while service, reliability and punctuality were poor. Not much different to now really.

That it can be different can be seen by trying some of the European rail lines. I’d like to see a unified rail service run by people who care about their customers, but I’m not holding my breath.

Clive Tiney, Towthorpe Road, Haxby, York.

• GEOFF ROBB’S letter of January 12 doubts the need for HR2, as he calls it; he suggests instead longer trains.

He should be pleased to learn that work is ongoing on the West Coast Mainline to increase capacity by train lengthening together with improvements to track and signalling.

But these measures can only provide a short-term boost in capacity and cannot keep pace with demand. The only viable option to meet long term growth and provide the necessary step change in capacity is a new line, High Speed 2.

He might like to know that the estimated £32 billion cost includes allowances for risk and optimism bias of over 60 per cent, making his £100 billion guess quite uninformed.

J Harrison.