Greengauge 21 says that Secretary of State Patrick McLoughlin should be roundly applauded. At the Conservative Party Conference, he announced a new study into extending the benefits of high-speed rail northwards, with an ‘aim to get the journey from Scotland to London to under three hours and making sure the North East benefits too’.
“This matches well with Transport Scotland’s already announced intentions to develop high-speed rail north of the border”, said Jim Steer, Director Greengauge 21.
“It is important to realise the evidence on value for money is very encouraging. In our detailed studies, we found that the benefit cost ratio of high-speed rail between Manchester and Glasgow/Edinburgh (7.6:1) was twice the level achieved by high-speed rail between London and Manchester.
“The study will need to look at upgrading existing lines as well as new build. Our work has shown that a full HSR between London and Edinburgh/Glasgow would be capable of achieving journey times of around 2 hours 40 minutes. A three hour target is very sensible, since that will deliver a huge shift away from short-haul aviation. Despite some inroads made by the West Coast Pendolino service, airlines still dominate the Anglo-Scottish travel market”.
- Fast Forward: A high-speed rail strategy for Britain was developed for Greengauge 21’s Public Interest Group and sets out what a national HSR network could deliver, in terms of value for money (p.48) and the potential journey time savings (p.27).