THE ONGOING spat between Westminster and Cardiff (Argus, April 8) over who pays for the electrification of the Valleys railways would normally make good “knockabout” politics, except for the millions required to see the project through.

But is conversion to electric really necessary?

The work covering the whole system between Paddington, Swansea and the Valleys will cause several years’ disruption; and the power required 24 hours a day to keep those trains running would be enough to supply a small town, which is certain to be sourced by a conventional power station using fossil fuels.

Will it be reliable or secure? On March 25 the Daily Mail published a story about Nottingham City’s tram system failing because of severe frost affecting the overhead cables carrying the current.

If electric delivered by cable can fail that easily, then surely it would be much safer, cheaper and quicker to upgrade the existing diesel stock, and it wouldn’t interrupt the railway timetables.

Mr A. Greenhalgh Ross Street Newport