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High speed Glasgow-Edinburgh rail link plans 'shelved'

image caption140mph trains were planned to link Edinburgh and Glasgow

Plans for a high-speed rail link between Glasgow and Edinburgh will now have to wait for a cross-border line to be identified, ministers have said.

The Scottish government had taken forward proposals which could have seen 140mph trains linking the cities.

It was said the line could be in place 10 years ahead of a cross-border one.

However, transport minister Derek Mackay has now said it is "not possible to progress planning" until a cross-border link with England is identified.

In November 2012, Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish government would "not wait" for Westminster to deliver a cross-border high-speed line.

She said Scotland would be "firing ahead" with its own plans and aimed to deliver the scheme by 2024, at least a decade ahead of any potential cross-border service.

But after Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott questioned why there was no mention of the high-speed line in the 2015 Infrastructure Investment Plan, Mr Mackay confirmed that the proposal "depends on the high-speed route coming up from the south".

'Bullet railway'

He said a draft business case submitted to ministers in 2014 made it clear that it was not possible to progress an Edinburgh to Glasgow route until a cross-border one is identified.

He said the Scottish government was continuing to work with the UK government and the company behind the plans for the HS2 line between England's major cities to look at options for a route extending into Scotland.

Mr Mackay added that a study of options would be published in early 2016 and the next steps announced.

Mr Scott said the government had shown a "lack of respect" for people in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

He said: "Three years ago the first minister said there would be full-steam ahead on this project. There was a grand ceremony in Glasgow addressed by two Cabinet ministers.

"What's happened since is that the SNP have shelved the project but hoped nobody would notice.

"They conned everyone into thinking that they would build this bullet railway from a blank page, and now they have tried to keep their cancellation secret."

Related Topics

  • Derek Mackay
  • Scottish government
  • Nicola Sturgeon
  • Rail travel

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