Scots high-speed HS2 rail report suffers new delay

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A LONG-AWAITED report on bringing high-speed rail to Scotland will be completed a year late, infrastructure secretary Keith Brown revealed today.

The joint study by the UK Department for Transport and Scottish Government on cutting Scotland-London journey times to under three hours was promised by the end of last year.

However, Mr Brown said a “deadline” had now been set for December - but it would not be published until 2016.

He said: “We expect to share the findings early next year.

“It will supply details on potential route options to Scotland.”

The study is looking at extending HS2 north from Manchester and/or Leeds or upgrading the existing east and west coast main lines across the Border.

It was commissioned in November 2013, with a draft report promised by July 2014 and the final version by the end of that year.

However, Mr Brown, speaking a conference in Glasgow today organised by high-speed rail study group Greengauge21, said extra work on the report had been requested after the report’s initial findings were submitted at the end of last year.

He said the final report would enable the Scottish Government to develop its planned high-speed line between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Mr Brown said: “This long-awaited and important study will furnish us with feasible route options and is a welcome development, putting our campaign to bring high speed rail to Scotland back on the fast track.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Government’s Transport Scotland agency said: “When furnished with full details of potential routes, Mr Brown will be in a position to make an announcement in February on the next steps in the realisation of his objective of ensuring Scotland’s inclusion within a high speed rail network.”

Greengauge21 director Jim Steer said: “The high speed rail network simply must go to Scotland, so the commitment to publishing potential routes for taking HS2 north of the Border is a big step forward.

“Passenger journeys from Scotland to London have doubled in the last five years, and if the journey time comes down to three hours they will soar even further.”

However, Mr Brown, speaking a conference in Glasgow today organised by high-speed rail study group Greengauge21, said extra work on the report had been requested after the report’s initial findings were submitted at the end of last year.

He said: “This long-awaited and important study will furnish us with feasible route options and is a welcome development, putting our campaign to bring high speed rail to Scotland back on the fast track.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Government’s Transport Scotland agency said: “When furnished with full details of potential routes, Mr Brown will be in a position to make an announcement in February on the next steps in the realisation of his objective of ensuring Scotland’s inclusion within a high speed rail network.”

Greengauge21 director Jim Steer said: “The high speed rail network simply must go to Scotland, so the commitment to publishing potential routes for taking HS2 north of the Border is a big step forward.

“Passenger journeys from Scotland to London have doubled in the last five years, and if the journey time comes down to three hours they will soar even further.”