Tunnel vision

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Dr John McCormick sets out a coherent business case (“Time to fast-track new rail strategy”, Friends of the Scotsman, 12 July) for an Anglo-Scottish high-speed rail link.

While overcoming, or rather avoiding, the objections of communities and their elected representatives to a new alternate dedicated track may be achieved by re-alignment and upgrading of existing routes, a suitable route did exist at one time from the North through the centre of England.

The line of the former Great Central Railway ran from Manchester via Sheffield, and the Midlands to Marylebone, in one network and linked the North-east, including to Aberdeen, the North-west, and West Country and fits the map illustrated by Dr McCormick’s article.

It also provided the Home Counties, where current objections are concentrated, with a 
reliable commuter route.

Opened in 1899 and closed by the Beeching Plan in 1969, the line was deliberately and boldly engineered to Continental loading standards and was a proven fast passenger and freight route.

In light of the present proposals, and the long delays before the Channel Tunnel was built, as a tribute to the myopia of 
transport planners the former line’s closure could scarcely be bettered.


Colliston Road