The Friends of The Scotsman’s push for high speed rail to England falls short in explaining whence the funding comes (12 July).
The latest “estimate” for HS2 south of the Border is £50 billion just for the 100 miles from London to Birmingham. How much to Leeds? No mention of further north still.
The not-recently-seen Holyrood 46 mile Glasgow to Edinburgh HS Scotland1 suggestion can reasonably have been estimated to cost £25 billion. What then would extending south to the Border and ever onward to join HS2 cost us? Would putative long-term traffic increases actually pay for the interest on the loans needed for construction, never mind repaying the loans themselves? All to get to London faster.
Now, if we could get HS to Aberdeen and Inverness, that would be something – but hardly cost-effective either. If money really is coming for further railway improvements, let’s just start by upgrading the existing tracks and trains to Aberdeen and Inverness –funds could well flow when the electrifications of the existing Central Belt lines are completed. The improved services coming there negate any need for Central Belt HS, too. Let’s note that the costs of building HS lines are reportedly partly responsible for Spanish economic woes. Do we want to go there?