I NOTE in your article “Branson defends East Coast franchise move” (January 6) a slight note of disdain as to his reasons for his company’s withdrawal from the railway franchise.

As a former railway passenger guard and long-term businesswoman I fully appreciate his position; his company is effectively a tenant who has agreed to pay large sums of money to improve the services, a matter wholly dependent upon the landlord (Government-controlled Network Rail) improving the premises (the infrastructure) without which he cannot fulfil what is required.

Regretfully these decisions seem cloaked in secrecy until after announcements have been made on things such as the withdrawal from the hastily-declared transpennine electrification plus other northern electrification schemes which leave the North and our city station in limbo as usual.

I believe railway renationalisation is unfortunately beyond this Government’s willingness or capability although when I see the incredible sums that are openly declared for both compensation and the new London CrossRail scheme I feel perhaps it’s time for us all to demand the railway sector be brought into Government control, hopefully operated by someone with the business acumen of Sir Richard.

If our residents pressed their local MP (in my instance Nigel Adams) in a bipartisan approach to include York MP Rachael Maskell and others it would at least raise the issue before yet another franchisee enters the ring with unrealistic promises.

Lisa Dunster, Appleton Roebuck, York