Sir - There are undoubtedly many more worthwhile missing rail links to fill than Sudan - Uganda (RG 8.06 p440), not only in southern Africa but also in west Africa.

The more modest proposal to extend the east African rail network to Juba seems more achievable, but if it is not to go beyond that point, a route east of the Nile from Gulu via the sizable border town of Nimule to Juba would be both shorter than one on the west from Pakwach, and would avoid a Nile crossing, and thus surely be a more economic proposition.

Last month you reported a consultant’s study of the rail network in Jordan, including links to neighbouring countries (RG 8.06 p437). As all these countries except Jordan have standard gauge systems, including Saudi Arabia where there are extensive plans for railway development, the case for converting the Damascus - Aqaba line from 1050mm to standard gauge would surely be powerful, and a prerequisite for Jordan’s system playing a pivotal role in the regional network.

Restoration of the Mexican line to the border with Guatemala (RG 8.06 p4356) needs to be followed by conversion and linking up of the assorted disconnected narrow gauge systems not just in Guatemala but also in Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua to create an integrated standard gauge network connected to the north American system. That would lay the foundations for growth and further extension into the Isthmus and beyond.

Mike Crowhurst

Chairman, Railfuture