Study to boost HS2 benefits in Scotland

The UK government has begun a new study which will look to increase the benefits of HS2 in Scotland and the north of England.

The announcement follows yesterday’s (October 31) vote in the House of Commons, approving funding for initial studies and compensation payouts for Phase 1 of the high-speed network between London and Birmingham.

HS2 Ltd will now look at options for improving capacity and journey times between England and Scotland off the back of discussions between Transport for Scotland and the UK government.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said that improvements could include extending the high-speed line in Scotland and/or upgrading the existing Scottish rail network.

Newly-appointed Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: “Our goal for High Speed Two is for a truly national network that will bring the UK and its cities closer together. We are driving forward High Speed Two because the benefits it will bring are HS2 map DfThuge. Without it we face a crisis in capacity on our rail network. But it is also about connectivity, across the UK 18 cities including Glasgow and Edinburgh will be better connected because of High Speed Two.

“Scotland will already benefit from day one with reduced journey times to and from London and once the full network is open these times will be reduced by up to an hour. However, we want to see if more can be done and so we are commissioning this study from High Speed Two Ltd with the support of the Scottish government to consider how these benefits could be extended further.”

Scottish government Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “High speed rail has the potential to bring huge economic benefits to Scotland, but also adds Scotland’s economic weight to the overall case for high speed rail across the UK.

“So we are willing to work in partnership with the UK government to examine options for bringing high speed rail to Scotland, creating benefit for all and complementing the Glasgow to Edinburgh high speed line which the Scottish government is already planning.”

A final report will be submitted to the Department for Transport next year for ministers to consider.