Letter: On wrong track

While extending the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail line to Edinburgh and Glasgow (Perspective, 27 June) would seem desirable, there are a number of factors that need to be considered.

It is going to take 15 years to do the 100 miles to Birmingham and another seven to reach Manchester. If this ended up as an incremental project, HS2 is probably at least 30 years away from Scotland.

Meanwhile, the world changes, China and India grow and the importance of London, and indeed most of Europe, recedes. Advances in technology and communication mean that business travel is rapidly shrinking and might eventually become redundant.

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Leisure travel might be better served by utilising the spare capacity overnight on both the east and west coast main lines. Bringing tourists to Scotland and allowing us to go there might be served by overnight trains to Europe.

Instead of depending on HS2 to deposit us in the crowded south of England, we should expand our horizons. We have good airports, Prestwick is underused and Inverness airport sits directly in the centre of our biggest tourist attraction, the Highlands.

Our transport strategy should look to improving road, rail and ferry links within Scotland, to increasing trade with the new developing countries and to making our communication links the best in Europe.

HS2 might reach Scotland one day, but our transport, trade, communications and tourist strategy would be better depending on developing resources which have a much shorter lead time and over which we have much more control.

Bruce D Skivington


Gairloch, Wester Ross