Council leader to put high-speed rail link on agenda at meeting with Scottish Secretary


A high-speed rail link to Scotland’s capital will be discussed at a meeting between the Scottish Secretary and city chiefs this week.

Edinburgh Council leader Jenny Dawe will discuss the plan with the Secretary of State for Scotland, Michael Moore, tomorrow (Thursday).

Last week Councillor Dawe and the leader of Glasgow City Council, Gordon Matheson, updated MSPs on what is required to build the high speed rail connections to Scotland.

The Scottish Government is being encouraged to co-operate with its Westminster counterparts to ensure the country is included in the plans from the outset.

It is hoped that the present fastest time from Edinburgh to London of around four-and-a-half hours could be slashed to as little as two hours and nine minutes.

Councillor Dawe said: “This meeting is recognition of Edinburgh’s importance not just to Scotland but to the UK as a whole. 

“I am grateful to the Secretary of State for taking the time to meet with me.

“The meeting will provide me with a great opportunity to promote Edinburgh’s priorities to ensure that we remain a world class city to live and visit as well as one which is attractive for investment.”

Mr Moore said: “I am keen to discuss the high speed rail link with Edinburgh Council.

“I am particularly looking forward to hearing about the way it will fit into their plans for strengthening the city’s economy and the investment opportunities that it will create.”

Staff at the City Chambers have also been invited to join the Secretary of State and the Council Leader as they observe a two minute silence to mark Armistice Day at the Edinburgh Cenotaph.

REPORT: Christine Lavelle


  1. The CPRE also said that the trains would drag trees over and exagerated the land take of this 2 track railway. Trains are already going within 20mph of the proposed speed – without such effects!

    They are right to suggest that more of the line runs alongside motorways like the M40, but they are wrong to encourage nimbys to talk their own property values down with scare stories.

    We need to join the rest of the world on this. There are 13,500km of 200mph rail lines recently built, 11,000km more is under construction now and a similar amount planned by 2020 in countries that compete with Britain. We have only 100km here – and HS2 is not included in those figures.

    Most lines pay back their costs within 20-30 yrs. Unlike commuter rail, High Speed Rail attracts enough new passengers (from mainly air plus road) to make profits.

    Getting the London-Scotland journey time down is the key to success here. Reaching just Birmingham will do very little. Suggesting that we need to spend £30 billion on two routes that go all the way up both the east and west coast could mean that nothing ever gets built.

    The best business case can be made for a route capable of 250mph max (210mph average) from London-Brum airport-Manchester airport to just north of Penrith. Double length trains could split at Manchester airport or Carlise to serve both Glasgow and Edinburgh via an improved Carstairs triangle with spurs to Glasgow and Edinburgh that could also form a new fast link between Glasgow and Edinburgh running just souh of Shotts (ie a big Triangle).

    With 250mph max to Penrith we would not need a new line all the way. The Carstairs-Carlisle route would just need some capacity upgrade work.

    That way we get London-Glasgow and London-Edinburgh journey times to 2.5 hrs with only 250miles of new track. We would have a fast-link between Glasgow and Edinburgh that would form the end of a route from London running via Brum and Manchester. Leeds & Newcastle would be 1hr and 2hrs from London via a spur from Lichfield to Doncaster.

    The last question though is why we need wait until 2025 for this when our competitors in Spain and China take only 7 years to get new lines designed and built.

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