Developing a HSR network to Scotland

9 November, 2015

The State of the Nation Infrastructure Scotland report launched this week is supportive of the case for bringing the line to Scotland. State of the Nation Scotland: Infrastructure 2015 focuses on the performance, resilience, capacity and condition of Scotland’s infrastructure networks. It also analyses the economic, social and environmental benefits of infrastructure.

The Scottish Government has committed to improving rail infrastructure, and the Borders Railway and Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Project, amongst other investments, are increasing network capacity and sustainability. The report states that while improvements to the Aberdeen-Inverness line and Highland lines are planned, enhanced rail connection from northern cities to the central belt is required if rail is to compete with road and aviation. The development of high speed rail between London and Scotland is the best option for increasing rail capacity, reducing journey times and encouraging shift from air to rail particularly if a journey time under 3 hours can be achieved. A joint Scottish and UK Government study exploring potential route options to Scotland will inform the Scottish Government’s objective of ensuring Scotland’s early inclusion within a high speed rail network. Further announcements on these options are expected in February 2016.

See related articles in Herald Scotland and Transport Extra

Are HS2’s stations properly located?

9 November, 2015

Are HS2’s stations properly located? Soon enough Government is due to report its position on Phase 2 of the project, the pair of limbs stretching northwards from the West Midlands to Manchester and Leeds. And especially in Yorkshire – in Sheffield and Leeds – there is continuing debate. Instead of the plans first drawn up in 2010/1, would it be better to have HS2 serve existing – but expanded – city centre stations instead?

It’s worth getting this right. Many English towns and cities have long suffered from poor station location decisions driven by Read on »

The British High Speed Rail Network

7 September, 2015

The debate at Greengauge 21’s conference in Glasgow on 3rd September comes at a pivotal moment. Successive governments have talked in terms of a British High Speed Rail network. But as yet plans are only developed in the southern half of Britain.

Keith Brown Keith Brown, Scottish Government Minister for Infrastructure, opened the conference by re-stating the critical role of high speed rail in  spreading inclusive  economic  growth as  part of an overall transport strategy.

Cross border high speed rail could bring Scotland a £25bn boost. Sitting in the 2nd largest economy in the  UK after  London, Mr Brown  saw the North of England not  as  competition for Scotland but an ally in delivering more balanced growth across the UK.

He welcomed  Northern  England leaders working with UK Government on  Northern  Powerhouse proposals. By around February Mr Brown expected to be in a position with Patrick McLoughlin to share further studies on cross-border options being  led by Sir David Higgins  and  HS2 Ltd – and importantly to set out next steps.

Founder of Greengauge 21, Jim Steer, said a national high speed rail network simply must include Scotland and the commitment to  publishing potential routes for  taking HS2 north of the Border is a big step forward. Read on »

Agreement in sight to bring fast rail link to Scotland

27 July, 2015

An agreement to cut train journeys from Scotland to London to three hours by bringing high-speed rail north of the Border is in the offing between the UK and Scottish governments.

The deal could involve a combination of upgrading existing tracks and building new high-speed lines, targeting sections of new line, built for higher speed, to provide the extra line capacity where necessary.

A spokesperson from the Scottish Government said “The Scottish Government and the Department for Transport (DfT) continue to work together and we are optimistic about seeing a joint, positive announcement as the outcome of these talks.”

Read Alastair Dalton’s full article in The Scotsman here.

Eurostar sale proves the commercial value of British high-speed rail

4 March, 2015

The UK Government’s sale of its 40% share in Eurostar raises £585m for the Exchequer – with a further £172m coming from the sale of its preference share, making a total of roundly £0.75bn. This exceeds handsomely the value expected: Government accounts showed Read on »