New railway infrastructure key for Scottish growth
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.