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EXCLUSIVE: Steer urges “truly national high-speed rail network”

“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


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  • Graham Nalty - 29/02/2016 08:13

    At last we have someone who really understands high speed rail and how ambitious our plans for high speed rail should be. High speed rail is such a game changer in travel opportunity that it has to be truly national and has to interface between our international airports and larger city centres with interchanges at city centres not at parkways where no one wants to go there. High speed rail can do so much more, but HS2 as currently planned falls so far short of these ideals and is very disappointing.

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  • FrankH - 02/03/2016 04:48

    I'm very sceptical about HS2 and how much quicker it's going to be than what we have now and and what price fare. Your average customer is not going to pay £xx more to get to london 30 minutes faster or whatever it might be. The only people who will pay this are business users who's company picks up the tab. This in turn will take first class (premium fares) users off the WCML and East coast operators which will then see the government getting less of a return from them in premiums because of HS2. If built I doubt it will get passed Manchester, after that potential customers in sufficient quantities become scarcer, that is the bottom line.

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