“The time is nigh” for Anglo-Scottish high-speed rail, according to Greengauge 21 Director Jim Steer, ahead of speculation that there will be a joint Holyrood/Westminster announcement on the subject this month.
Steer told RAIL that England to southern Scotland is “where the advantages of shorter journey times are so palpable and where there’s a huge domestic air market to address”. But he says that so far we have only seen hesitation for what would be a “truly national high-speed rail network”.
He says there have been leaks about a poor business case for extending high-speed lines to Scotland from a study commissioned in October 2012, but that these go against the findings of studies carried out by both Network Rail and Greengauge 21.
Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities Keith Brown MSP hinted at the potential March announcement at an invite-only conference in Newcastle on February 17. A March announcement would fall safely ahead of the purdah period (beginning on March 24) that will precede the Scottish Parliamentary elections (May 5).
- Jim Steer will present a full analysis of the options and considerations for Anglo-Scottish high-speed in RAIL 796, published on March 16
- For more on this story read RAIL 795 published on March 2