New rail­way in­fra­struc­ture key for Scot­tish growth

Rail (UK) - - News -

Sub­stan­tial in­vest­ment - in­clud­ing new rail­way in­fra­struc­ture - is re­quired in Scot­land, ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try body Green­gauge 21.

At a re­gional sem­i­nar held in Glas­gow on Novem­ber 15, Green­gauge 21 Di­rec­tor Jim Steer said that the chal­lenges fac­ing Scot­land lie in cross-bor­der con­nec­tiv­ity with north­ern Eng­land, as well as north­bound con­nec­tions from the Cen­tral Belt.

“The cross-bor­der routes face a ca­pac­ity crunch, as de­mand for more and bet­ter train ser­vices link­ing Scot­land with ma­jor pro­vin­cial English cities as well as Lon­don will grow over time,” said Steer. He added that there was also a need to ac­com­mo­date in­creas­ing freight flows to and from the ports in south east Eng­land.

“It was great to hear that Trans­port Scot­land has in hand the pre­lim­i­nary stud­ies needed to en­sure that the ben­e­fits of HS2 do not stop in cen­tral Eng­land,” he said.

“New tracks are needed to take higher-speed ser­vices into the cen­tre of Glas­gow and free up ex­ist­ing lines for bet­ter com­muter ser­vices and rail freight. With smart, joined-up plan­ning, a very wide range of rail jour­neys in Scot­land can be hugely im­proved from two new rail­way lines.”

Steer said the coun­try needs to stop its over-re­liance on roads, when look­ing to travel north­bound.

“From the Cen­tral Belt to Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen and In­ver­ness, rail can­not match road jour­ney times. That’s why we fully sup­port the idea of a fast, new line along­side the M90 mo­tor­way.”

Green­gauge 21 also high­lighted that, for Bri­tain, its anal­y­sis shows that low pro­duc­tiv­ity, over cen­tral­i­sa­tion and the high­est lev­els of trans­port con­ges­tion are in­ter­re­lated.

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