The next stage in plans for reducing train journey times between Scotland and England have been announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Addressing an audience of business leaders in Newcastle, the First Minister confirmed that feasibility studies were being commissioned to identify options to help improve train journey times, capacity, resilience and reliability on services between Scotland and England.
In 2016 the UK and Scottish governments jointly commissioned work to identify options for improvement, on the east and west coast rail corridors, with a focus on delivering three hour journeys between Scotland and London.
The first phase of this has now been completed. A short list of options to enhance the rail network has been identified and analysis will now be commissioned to understand cost, benefits, environmental impacts and technical considerations for work in Scotland.
The studies will focus on the east coast line south of Dunbar towards Newcastle and on the west coast line between Glasgow and Carstairs. This feasibility study will also consider the potential for new cross-border stations within the Eurocentral business park and on the existing rail network near Livingston.
The First Minister said:
“I am determined for us to take the necessary steps to secure Scotland’s future and improve our connectivity with England.
“This work will provide us with the knowledge to make informed investments in the next ten years and move us towards our goal of a three hour journey time to London and substantially reduced journey times to the cities in between.
“It is fitting that I am able to make this announcement while speaking to the North East England Chambers of Commerce. This work could have significant benefits for people and businesses on both sides of the border.
“For example, it is expected that these studies will confirm we will be able to reduce the journey time between Edinburgh and Newcastle by a third, down to only one hour, and also reduce journey times between Glasgow and Edinburgh and Carlisle. This will further enhance the opportunities for trade and leisure travel between these great cities, as well as the surrounding area.”