It is a positive development that Thurrock Council is discussing/supporting a possible tram or light railway under the river between Grays, Dartford and Gravesend (Thames Gateway Tramlink).

But this also serves to emphasise the missed opportunity to include a mainline rail link beside the Lower Thames Crossing (Option C) to join the Tilbury Loop to the North Kent Line.

First suggested in the 1890s (then directly from Grays to Dartford) in this new position it would provide strategic value.

This is not only to both of our rapidly expanding ports, but for the whole of the eastern side of England including Eurotunnel which is so important for our international trade even after Brexit.

The differing power modes for passenger services north and south of the river would not be an obstacle since dual-traction has been in use on mainline services for decades and most customers do not even notice the switch-over points.

Them the construction of this extra tunnel would not destroy any homes and it would reduce pollution overall by removing a lot of heavy road traffic.

As recently as this January a financed proposal for a road and rail tunnel from east of Rochester to north of Canvey - basically new lower Thames Crossing Option D plus - was turned down because of the fixed commitment to Highway England.

Yet Highway England do not do railways by definition so the rail network of this whole area has, near to the end of the second decade of the 21st century, to remain largely that of the second half of the 19th century.

The political hegemony that runs all the way from the Westminster Cabinet down to the majority party in nearly all the local councils means that the best we can hope for is perhaps a few sops towards environmental protection to be associated with the new private motorway rather than any consideration for public transport infrastructure.

Mike Cobb

Stafford Close