Transport Minister Keith Brown has welcomed the Commons Transport Select Committee findings that the UK Government should commit to a fully inclusive high speed rail network.

Mr Brown insists the report is further endorsement for calls to get construction underway in Scotland as soon as work begins on the line in England.

The report published today echoes the calls of the Scottish Government for the line to be built from the north and the south concurrently to ensure both ends of the UK are assured of inclusion on the project.

Mr Brown said:

“The Transport Select Committee’s report reinforces what we in the Scottish Government have been saying all along – that there is no point building a high speed rail network unless you include the whole country from the start, and the only way to prove your commitment to doing that is to build from both ends at the same time.

“This is what we in Scotland are doing with the Borders Railway, and also how we are carrying out the Edinburgh-Glasgow line improvements – our two current major railway projects.

“Our approach to the railways in Scotland has been validated by the hugely increasing passenger numbers in recent years and many in the industry have pointed to Scotland as leading the way in reviving the golden age of train travel.

“It would appear that the House of Commons Transport Select Committee now also agrees that Westminster could learn a thing or two from the Scottish Government about how to run a railway.

“We must ensure that the Scottish taxpayer is also assured the benefits of high speed rail, and not just those south of Birmingham.

“We pressed the Department for Transport to include Scotland in the planning and they have now agreed to work with us on a Phase 3 to the project. A commitment now to building from both eneds would prove that they are not just paying lip service.’’

The report further endorses the findings of the High Speed Rail Scotland Group which includes Glasgow and Edinburgh City Councils, Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI), the Scottish Chambers of Commerce and Scottish Regional Transport Partnerships.

Their Fast Track Scotland study, published exactly two years ago tomorrow (SAT), recommended that Scotland should be included in HS2 from the very start in order for the whole of the UK to experience the proper benefits of the project.

That group also found that a connection with the high speed line would benefit Scotland to the tune of around £25billion.

Published 13 Dec 2013