Three-hour Scotland connection ‘realistically achievable by 2027’

A goal of facilitating three-hour journeys from London to Edinburgh and Glasgow by 2027 is ‘realistically achievable’, high speed rail consultancy Greengauge 21 has recommended in a new report.

The report says that the goal of achieving a three-hour journey in order to cut use of short-haul flights, “could be realistically achievable by 2027”.

It says that building HS2, which is due to reach Crewe by 2027, should be coupled with upgrades on the existing west coast line further north in order to achieve this.

The new report reviews work done to date, and it sets out how an intelligent combination of bypasses and upgrades to existing lines north of Crewe can achieve the 2027 aim.

Jim Steer, founder and director of Greengauge 21, said: “Three hours in 2027 is achievable and will further strengthen the strategic and economic case for HS2. When markets shift from short-haul airlines to high-speed rail, the greatest environmental gains in air quality and reduced carbon and made.”

“We are calling for a staged development that embraces the east coast as well as the west coast main line. It should be driven by an assessment of the capacity needs of the two corridors, which handle large volumes of freight as well as link cities in the Midlands and North of England with Scottish cities.”

No central route exists, but the west coast line is the preferable route because the east coast would not allow a three-hour journey to Glasgow except at greater expense.

Improvements are already underway at Preston and Carlisle, where 400m platforms are due to be built.

However, the report says further improvements are needed at points including the Shap/Beattock summits, where there are plans to run more freight despite the lack of suitable inter-modal freight services, and the Carstairs-Glasgow line, where new tracks will be needed to reduce congestion.

The report says that Transport Scotland and Transport for the North must work together to deliver this goal. It also recommends establishing a new single-purpose company to ensure the programme is delivered on time.

Steer wrote for RTM last year on the need to ensure the right locations for HS2’s stations.

Sir Jeremy Heywood, the cabinet secretary, is conducting a review of how to keep HS2 within its budget, with proposals allegedly including cutting its Manchester arm.

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Lutz   06/06/2016 at 18:30

Is it financial feasible? How about the necessary resources? Sounds good on paper but has the proposal had any engagement with reality?

Michael Bell   07/06/2016 at 17:23

To take a main line railway north from the Humber-Mersey line (the two tips of the Y-shaped route) along the WEST coast is unthinking of-course-ism. The route Manchester, Carstairs(fork), Edinburgh & Glasgow, with a separate but necessary route Leeds, Middlesbrough puts all 4 towns at the ends of branches from London. The much better thorn-shaped route goes Leeds, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Glasgow, it uses about half the miles of rail and joins them all together. See my website http://www.thornshapedroute.com/

Graham Nalty   08/06/2016 at 01:00

Good clear thinking be Greengauge 21. Makes the report by HS2 Ltd. seem lacking in purpose.

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