Among all the justifiable furore concerning the West Coast Main Line, let us not forget the continuing need to upgrade our national rail system.
Where the journey is less than 150 miles modern battery technology could be used. No third rail or overhead power lines would be needed so there would be no disruption of any line for bridge raising or tunnel widening.
In particular I am thinking of the north Wales line and its branch from Llandudno to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
It would be possible for a battery electric train to average 60-70mph from Crewe to Holyhead nonstop. Similarly a journey from Llandudno to Manchester would be possible using batteries.
Only four three-phase mains charging points would be needed - one each at Crewe, Holyhead, Llandudno and Manchester.
Battery electric trains were successfully trialled on the 45-mile Aberdeen to Ballater branch line in the early 1960s using banks of milk float batteries. They were scrapped when the Beeching report came out, closing down many branch lines.
But battery electric technology has moved on a long way since then and some main lines are now suitable for its reintroduction.
The economics of battery electrics are closely related to electricity costs and battery life.
For trains starting from London, the locomotives would need to be able to switch from 25,000v AC to 720v DC at Crewe. But voltage switching technology is already being used on Eurostar where it has to go from 25,000v AC in Britain to 1,500v in France and then 3,000v DC in Belgium.