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26 August 2009

Network Rail Report

In a statement in response to Network Rail's New Lines Study published today, Stewart Stevenson, Minister for Transport, said:

"We welcome the publication of this report and its potential to feed into the Government's future thinking on rail requirements.

"The Scottish Government has an ambitious vision for Scottish transport and we have long advocated the need for high speed links from Europe and London not to stop at Leeds but to continue north to Scotland. I have discussed this at length with UK Ministers and there is no doubt that such links would bring significant economic and environmental benefits. Improved journey times could provide significant benefits to Scotland's economy, while also improving connections and opening up new opportunities. Cutting journey times between Scotland and London to below the three-hour mark would also offer direct competition with air travel and could result in helping us towards achieving our 42 per cent cut in emissions as set out in our world-leading Climate Change (Scotland) Act.

"Earlier this year, Lord Adonis asked High Speed 2 (HS2), the company formed to progress UK high speed links, to examine the potential for expanding high speed services to Scotland. In June, in response, the Scottish Government announced the setting up of a business team which will allow us to produce a fully developed business case to advance our argument for high speed rail to be extended to Scotland.

"It is important to stress that high speed cross-border rail routes to both Glasgow and Edinburgh should connect with the existing network in Scotland to ensure all parts of the country benefit.

"It is equally important that HS2 works up a fully developed case for a high speed rail project that links Scotland to the major capitals of Europe.

"If, as research suggests, up to three times as many passengers will be travelling on our railways by 2020, then it is important that we move quickly in planning today for the rail network of tomorrow. The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring Scotland's voice is heard in this work and we now look forward to working with the UK Government on the development of a UK-wide network of high speed services."
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