Published: 16:37, 10 June 2020
| Updated: 17:40, 10 June 2020
Three-hour train journeys from London to Glasgow and Edinburgh would be possible under a plan for better links between HS2 and Scotland, rail industry firms have claimed.
A report by High Speed Rail Group called for a programme of investment to upgrade existing lines and build new sections of track to improve cross-border connectivity.
It did not provide an estimated cost, but insisted there is a “sound economic case” for encouraging people to switch from air travel to rail for Anglo-Scottish journeys.
The fastest train services currently take around four hours and 30 minutes for London to Glasgow and four hours and 20 minutes for London to Edinburgh.
The report, entitled High-Speed Rail and Scotland, stated that three-hour journeys on both routes are possible if the measures it recommends are implemented.
Its plan includes:
– A major upgrade of junctions between Crewe and Preston.
– A new line from Carstairs and Rutherglen, and a fast approach from there to Glasgow Central.
– Upgrading Newcastle Central station to accommodate longer trains.
– A new line parallel to existing approaches from the Dunbar area to Edinburgh.
HS2 is planned to initially run between London and Birmingham, before being extended to Crewe, Manchester and Leeds, but high-speed trains will also serve destinations on conventional lines beyond the core network.
The firm developing the railway, HS2 Ltd, estimates that journeys between London and Glasgow/Edinburgh will take three hours and 40 minutes under current plans.
Jim Steer, author of High Speed Rail Group’s report, said it is “essential” that the UK focuses on a “green recovery” from the coronavirus pandemic.
He went on: “Over the past two months we have all seen the positive impact on air quality and the environment.
“While we now focus on our economic recovery, we cannot lose sight of the carbon-cutting goals we have set ourselves.
“As transport is now the largest contributor to the UK’s emissions, the sector has a duty to act quickly and decisively to reduce them.”
The UK Government has a policy of reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.