Posted 18th January 2016 | 8 Comments
Scottish High Speed plans are shelved 'in secret'
SCOTTISH ministers have revealed that uncertainties about a possible northern extension of HS2 mean that plans for a High Speed line linking Edinburgh and Glasgow will be shelved for the time being.
The link would be new, and its promotion and construction is unconnected with the project to electrify the present route between Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh via Falkirk, which is in progress.
The Scottish Government had previously said that a 225km/h route could be built at least a decade before HS2 could approach from the south, and in November 2012 Nicola Sturgeon, then deputy first minister, had said the Scottish Government would 'not wait' for Westminster to provide a High Speed line across the border from England, and that Scotland would be 'firing ahead' with the intention of opening a line between Glasgow and Edinburgh by the mid-2020s.
However, the 2015 Infrastructure Plan does not include such a scheme. When Liberal Democrat MSP Tavish Scott asked why not, transport minister Derek Mackay admitted that it was not possible to plan for the line at present, which 'depends on the high-speed route coming up from the south', and that a draft business case prepared in 2014 had made this clear.
Mr Scott accused ministers of showing a 'lack of respect' for people in the central belt cities. He said: "Three years ago the first minister said there would be full-steam ahead on this project. There was a grand ceremony in Glasgow addressed by two Cabinet ministers. What's happened since is that the SNP have shelved the project but hoped nobody would notice. They conned everyone into thinking that they would build this bullet railway from a blank page, and now they have tried to keep their cancellation secret."
Mr Mackay said a study of possible options would be published soon, when the next steps would also be announced.
Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.