You reported (2 November) on transport minister Baroness Kramer’s visit to Scotland to discuss the implications of the proposed HS2 rail network. Although the plans for HS2 only take the lines from London to Manchester and Leeds, she recognised the need for journey times between Edinburgh/ Glasgow and London to be cut from four hours plus.
Real benefits will be achieved for Scotland if this ambition can be realised. Not only will it make train journeys quicker, but it will also deliver a modal shift – making the train a proper alternative to domestic flights, taking passengers from city centre to city centre without all the discomfort factors of air travel, let alone the emissions issue.
My key concern is the potential impact on extending HS2 to Scotland of independence: would a future Westminster government really be interested in promoting this venture north of Manchester and Leeds? I suspect there will be no appetite, let alone funding, for such an extension.
PHIL WHEELER (Transport convener, City of Edinburgh Council, 2007-9)
Templeland Road Edinburgh