Setting out a long term rail plan for Scotland

15 November, 2018

At the first of our regional seminars held in Glasgow today, we called for substantial investment in rail across Scotland.

Its analysis is that for Britain, three factors – low productivity, over centralisation and the highest levels of transport congestion in Europe – are inter-related. Its economic analysis shows that poor connectivity is a common factor, and in its report ‘Beyond HS2’ published earlier this year, it set out a long-term plan to address the problem.

For Scotland, Greengauge 21 Director Jim Steer says, the challenges ahead lie in cross-border connectivity to northern England and in connections northwards from the central belt.

“The cross-border routes face a capacity crunch, as demand for more and better train services linking Scotland with major provincial English cities as well as London will grow over time” says Jim Steer, alongside the need to accommodate increasing freight flows to/from the ports in SE England.

“It was great today to hear that Transport Scotland has in hand the preliminary studies needed to ensure that the benefits of HS2 do not stop in central England”, he added. “New tracks are needed to take higher speed services into the centre of Glasgow and free up existing lines for better commuter services and rail-freight. With smart, joined-up planning, a very wide range of rail journeys in Scotland can be hugely improved from two new railway lines.

While much attention is focused on connections with Glasgow and Edinburgh, Steer points to the new fast link northwards as being of equal significance. “Scotland needs to avoid over-reliance on its highway network if it is to create a resilient and attractive transport system. From the central belt to Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness, rail cannot match road journey times, and that’s why we fully support the idea of a fast, new line alongside the M90 motorway”.

See the Beyond HS2 report here



Beyond HS2: a new direction for High-Speed Rail and other services in the UK

25 September, 2018

In our recent report – Beyond HS2 – we set out the most long-term and strategic view of what our national railway network should look like by the middle of the century. The report considers changes to the design of HS2 that can maximise its potential benefits to a larger area of the country, as well as other modifications to enhance the services across the entire rail network and improve the aspects of economic productivity which depend on them.

Our Associate Director John Jarvis explains the major points of our vision to Railway-News. You can access the full article here.

Royal Assent granted to Phase 1 of the HS2 project

23 February, 2017

Greengauge 21 congratulates all of those who have worked so diligently in securing the parliamentary powers for the first phase of HS2, following the granting of Royal Assent today. We can all now be confident that high-speed rail network will form the back-bone of the nation’s transport system in the 21st century.

High Speed in the North of England

1 November, 2016

When it becomes the first ‘sub national transport body’ in 2017, Transport for the North must become the client and guiding mind for HS2 in the north of England.

Transforming the North’s economy requires transformed transport infrastructure. The HS2 project is now recognised as having multiple functions, including improving links between the north’s major cities, as well as to/from London. Decisions about how and when to implement HS2 in the north, including developing service plans and providing for access to HS2 stations, must be recognised as a core part of Transport for the North’s transport strategy.

Sir David Higgins’ observation in 2014 that HS2 could contribute better north-south connectivity within the north, but that the absence of good east-west connections remained an issue, was met by a swift, joined-up response from the north’s major cities. The work, presented as “One North” outlined an overall transport strategy with better rail connectivity playing a key part, and set out the close inter-relations between HS2, faster east west connections, and city region network development.

Greengauge 21 believes that cost-efficient decisions on phasing and integration that support the North’s wider industrial strategy and economic plans will only come through widespread cooperation and collaboration that is led by Transport for the North.

At the National Rail Conference in Manchester Jim Steer expounds on the importance of a unifying guiding mind on planning rail investment, and pinpoints the need to empower Transport for the North to achieve this. He explains why responsibility for planning decisions on HS2 in the north of England needs to be made an explicit responsibility of Transport for the North.


Access the presentation here: Greengauge 21 National Rail Conference 2016

HS2 completes Third Reading stage in the House of Commons

24 March, 2016

HS2 took a major step forward today as the legislation required to build the first phase, from London to Birmingham, completed its Third Reading stage in the House of Commons with MPs voting 399 to 42 in favour of the Bill.  It has now been introduced into the House of Lords.

On introduction to the House of Lords, a fresh petitioning period is triggered, and those directly and specially affected by the High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill now have the opportunity to petition.

The petitioning period set by the House of Lords runs from today until 18 April. Subject to completing its Parliamentary passage, construction will begin next year.