Work on new four-hour London to Scotland HS2 to begin next year

Travelling to Scotland from London in less than four hours will be possible after the UK and Scottish governments agreed to begin work on the new railway line next year.

The announcement came as the governments welcomed the results of a joint report which says that HS2 should come to Scotland, including a connection between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The report says that a high-speed rail package would have a lower benefit to cost ratio than a conventional rail option, but is the best placed to meet planning objectives such as passenger capacity, journey time and reliability.

Keith Brown, Scottish infrastructure secretary, said: “This report is a major milestone in the campaign to deliver high-speed rail to Scotland and marks the beginning of the next chapter in the tale.

“I now have a firm commitment that development work will begin during the current control period towards getting journey times between Scotland and London down to three hours or less.

“High speed rail will bring billions of pounds worth of benefit to Scotland’s economy and an infrastructure project of this magnitude – possibly the biggest Scotland’s ever seen - means jobs, investment, benefits for the economy and benefits for the environment.

“This plan will bring to life our target of 3 hours or less Glasgow and Edinburgh to London train journeys, which will lead to a significant move from air to rail, bringing big reductions in carbon emissions.”

It is estimated that HS2 trains will be able to travel from London to Glasgow in 3 hours 56 minutes after phase one opens in 2026, journeys to both Edinburgh and Glasgow will be reduced to 3 hours 38 minutes after the full Y-network opens in 2033, and HS2 will bring £3bn benefits to Scotland.

The news comes as a third reading of the HS2 bill is due in Parliament on Wednesday.


Huguenot   22/03/2016 at 20:07

Sub-4 hrs once HS2 PHase 1 opens? And still over 3½ hrs after Phase 2? That's not very good is it! We can already do Edinburgh-London in 4 hrs on the ECML and London-Glasgow in 4hr 8 min on the WCML (OK, it's only one train a day each, but that's because all the others make too many stops.) HS2 has got to achieve better than that.

Noam Bleicher   23/03/2016 at 09:10

The problem is, Huguenot, that the network is much busier than it was when there were regular ECML workings around four hours. Even with HS2 as far as Yorkshire, there will still be pressure for more station calls at places like Darlington and Berwick as demand for rail services soars. These calls slow any end-to-end service down. THe UK and Scottish governments are however also looking at upgrading and bypassing some bits of the classic network in the north of England, to bring HS journeys down to three hours while still allowing expansion of classic services.

Mike Guerra   24/03/2016 at 06:59

For me, the real benefit of all the HS lines is the increased loading gauge which would allow through continental services (like overnight Scotland-Paris) should HM Gov wake up to the need to connect HS1 with HS2 near London. Speed and capacity are useful, however, in a post-airline future we need to have the replacement infrastructure in place early, while it is cheaper to build (imagine having to build any infrastructure in a post-oil economy).

Andrew G   28/03/2016 at 21:39

HS2 could start in 2017 or in 2018 and to be completed by around 2026 with new trains to be built and further extension for HS2 to be made and planned as well HS3 which is also to be planned to be built at around 2029 or in 2030+.

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