Fast Track Scotland - Making the Case for High Speed Rail Connections with Scotland

4. Assessment of Benefits

In order to assess the potential benefits that could be delivered by improved cross-border links, a review of the existing evidence base has been carried out, together with an assessment of the potential benefits. This has covered the following areas:

  • Economic
    • Economic welfare benefits
    • Wider economic benefits
    • Inward investment
    • Key growth sectors
    • Benefit to UK economy
    • Passenger demand and revenue
  • Benefits to passengers and rail operators
    • All of Scotland will benefit
    • Capacity
    • Punctuality and reliability
  • Environment

4.1 Economic

4.1.1 Economic welfare benefits

Within transport, the economic welfare benefits of projects are typically valued in terms of a reduction in travel time. High level analysis of the potential economic welfare benefits that would arise from including a high speed rail link to Scotland from Manchester has been undertaken by Greengauge 21. This high level modelling estimates user benefits totalling £24.8 billion[29] (2002 Present Value (PV)/prices) over the 60 year appraisal period. The majority of these benefits come from journey time savings, as the introduction of the high speed rail link to Scotland has a significant impact on the journey times to and from Scotland, and the generation of new journeys.

In comparison HS2 (2011) estimates transport user benefits arising from a high speed rail link between London and the West Midlands at £17.5 billion[30] (2009 PV/prices) over 60 years, which is equal to £14.6 billion (2002 PV/prices). This suggests that the user benefits arising from the Manchester to Scotland section are £10 billion higher than that of the London to West Midlands section. However, caution does need to be taken with comparing these two different estimates as they arise from two different modelling techniques and a different set of assumptions, which are discussed in more detail in section 5.3. Despite this caveat, the estimates clearly highlight the significant benefits available from a high speed rail link to the UK and emphasise the view that in order to maximise the economic benefits from a high speed rail network it is essential to include Scotland.

" Dell established its UK and EMEA Headquarters in Bracknell in 1988 and since then has grown throughout the UK to include main locations in Glasgow, Nottingham, Central London and Edinburgh. Any alternative/improved form of transport which can reduce travel time, as well as allow more flexible travel to either customer sites or Dell office locations, clearly has the potential to be beneficial. If journey times between Glasgow/Edinburgh to London can be reduced to 2 hours 40 minutes, it gives greater flexibility and options when considering travel plans."


4.1.2 Wider economic benefits

In addition to the standard economic welfare benefits associated with transport improvements, there is the potential for significant wider economic benefits as a result of the introduction of a high speed rail link to Scotland. These can arise from the following:

  • Reduced business costs
  • Agglomeration benefits
  • Improved labour supply.

Reduced business costs - The introduction of a high speed rail link will have a significant impact on businesses and development throughout Scotland. The new transport link is likely to impact current business costs, attract new businesses and encourage development around any new stations. Current businesses with activity in Scotland will benefit as the reduced journey times will result in a reduction in the cost of travel for businesses. This reduction will not only provide a direct benefit by reducing costs, but also means that they are able to increase productivity.

Agglomeration benefits - The term agglomeration refers to the concentration of economic activity over an area. Transport can act to increase the accessibility of an area to a greater number of firms and workers, thereby impacting on the level of agglomeration, enabling firms to take advantage of spillovers and synergies. Empirical evidence demonstrates that the level of agglomeration affects the productivity of firms and workers in an area, even after controlling for characteristics specific to firms and workers in that area. As new high speed rail termini will encourage redevelopment in the surrounding areas, a number of firms who value the high speed rail link will move to the vicinity of the termini, which may create agglomeration benefits which did not exist previously.

Improved labour supply - As high speed rail is mainly targeting long-distance journeys it is unlikely to have a significant impact on the labour supply. However, high speed rail does have knock on impacts on local routes, as discussed in 4.2.1, which may have a positive impact on the labour supply. A high speed rail link to Scotland will also raise the possibility of commuter travel between the North of England and Scotland with the significantly reduced journey time. This view is supported by evidence from Italy where the introduction of high speed rail has resulted in a shift from weekly commuting between Naples and Rome to daily commuting[31].

Table 3 presents the results of a Scottish survey of leading businesses in key sectors aimed to highlight perceived business benefits from high speed rail.

Table 3 Responses from businesses in Scotland to a survey of opinions on high speed rail[32]
Key Cities for Connectivity
London 90%
Manchester 60%
Birmingham 55%
Newcastle 40%
Leeds 32.5%
Key Regions for Journey Time Reductions
London 80%
North of England 60%
Benefits for your Business
Reduced time travelling 85%
Strengthening existing business links 65%
Greater frequency and reliability 57.5%
Making new business links 37.5%
Expand labour market 27.5%
Access to new markets 25%
Benefits for the Scottish economy
Attract new investment 72.5%
Tourism 72.5%
Retain existing investment 65%
Expand existing investment 62.5%
Current mode of travel to London
Air 57.5%
Air & Rail 25%
Rail 7.5%
Air & Road 2.5%
Potential for some modal shift with journey time improvements
Yes 82.5%
No 2.5%
N/A 5.%
Potential modal shift for journeys to Europe
Yes 42.5%
No 22.5%
Possibly 20%

Source: Scottish Council for Development and Industry

The following conclusions can be drawn from the survey results:

  • There is good support from the Glasgow and Edinburgh city-regions' business communities, certainly from larger businesses
  • London is the highest priority destination, although shorter journey times to the north of England are also supported, especially those on the west coast alignment
  • Reducing time travelling, strengthening existing business links, and greater frequency and reliability are viewed as the biggest business benefits
  • There is a strong belief that high speed rail will be positive for inward investment and tourism
  • There is great scope for modal shift from air on some journeys due to productivity, convenience and environmental considerations, but costs would be a factor
  • There is interest in using high speed rail and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link for some journeys to the near continent, but only if journey times and costs are competitive.

" Siemens supports the development of HSR, linking Scotland's main cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow with the proposed network across England... We believe that a network which includes central Scotland would maximise the economic and environmental returns for Scotland from this national investment and would be of significant long-term benefit to businesses in Scotland and the UK economy overall."


Regeneration benefits - Regeneration and development around the new railway stations in Edinburgh and Glasgow is also a likely consequence of the new high speed rail link. Experience of new high speed rail lines and stations in other countries has shown that redevelopment of land around stations has enabled substantial new building of offices, retail, hotels and housing, whilst the combination of office space and good transport networks has led to significant investment through the relocation of businesses. Lille is cited[33] as a good example of how high speed rail and the creation of a new station has brought about the development of a major commercial centre in the area between the new station, Lille Europe, served by TGV and Eurostar services, and the old, main railway station, Lille Flandres. HS2 Ltd (2011a) also highlight Cologne, Germany, as an example of the realisation of regeneration benefits. The arrival of high speed rail in Cologne has supported a major programme of redevelopment, including office, hotel, retail and leisure developments, as well as new housing and the redevelopment of the city's main exhibition and conference venues. Furthermore, in Japan, research undertaken in the 1980s on the effects of the development of the Shinkansen network suggested that land values in commercial areas with a Shinkansen station rose by as much as 67% over the period 1981-85.

Greengauge 21 (2009a) suggests that a key lesson from international experience is that the local economic benefits are much greater if the station development is integrated within a visionary city master plan that provides for and encourages complementary urban development, particularly if this is based on an economy which relies on personal contact such as the major knowledge-based industries which make up the broadly-defined service sector. Thus, a major consideration in selecting sites for HSR stations in both Glasgow and Edinburgh will be to ensure that they are well placed to reap the sort of benefits which have accrued to other urban high speed rail locations.

In addition to the potential regeneration benefits in the vicinity of new stations, businesses throughout Scotland will also benefit from the high speed rail link with section 4.2.1 outlining how rail connections will be developed throughout Scotland, improving economic connectivity.

4.1.3 Inward investment

Transport infrastructure availability is one of a range of factors likely to contribute to the relative attractiveness of investing in a particular country. Established transport infrastructure will assist in:

  • Attracting new investment, particularly foreign direct investment (FDI)
  • Retaining existing investment
  • Expanding existing investment in face of competition from other areas.

Levels of investment are determined by a variety of factors such as access to skilled labour and the presence of clusters of similar firms and suppliers. Transport has a key role in contributing to the value of these attributes as an effective and efficient transport system can broaden access to the labour pool and bring firms closer together.

Key Message

Inclusion in a UK high speed rail network will allow Scotland greater economic equity with other areas of the UK. If Scotland is not included Glasgow and Edinburgh will be comparatively further away from London, in terms of journey times, than their main competitors who are served by high speed lines.

Edinburgh and Glasgow have performed strongly both in terms of attracting FDI and in nurturing indigenous companies that have successfully entered global markets. FDI Magazine in 2008 identified Edinburgh as the most attractive small European city in which to locate and the fifth most attractive across all European cities or regions while Glasgow was rated eighth most attractive. Scotland as a whole was also named the European Region of the Future[34].

The Ernst & Young European Investment Monitor (EIM) which is used to identify trends and significant movements in jobs, business and investment also ranks Scotland highly as a destination of inward investment. The 2008 EIM ranked the UK top in Europe in terms of the number of FDI projects attracted in 2007, while a regional breakdown showed that Scotland was second only to the South East as a destination for FDI each year since 2004/05[35].

However, a recent Cushman and Wakefield's European Cities Monitor 2011, a survey of senior executives from 501 European companies, reveals that Glasgow and Edinburgh are lowly ranked on easy access to markets, being the lowest ranked UK cities. Edinburgh is 32nd out of 36 of the major European cities listed, while Glasgow is ranked 25th. Glasgow and Edinburgh are also seen as having relatively poor external transport links being ranked 18th and 25th out of 36 respectively. This is important as it highlights the need for the UK high speed rail link to Scotland to aid Glasgow and Edinburgh retain current levels of inward investment and attract new investment. If this does not exist then this risks marginalising the Scottish economy and leading to a shift in investment to the regions that do have the high speed rail links. Furthermore, given the specialist and global nature of many businesses in Scotland, including research and university based activities, effective external links are essential to retain and develop these activities. A high speed rail network which includes Scotland would provide this through a fast and easy link between Scotland, the rest of the UK and Heathrow.

" A high speed rail link will make Glasgow more accessible for regular commuters and also for people who are considering re-locating to have increased options for travelling to their home towns. This may also help convince organisations to consider re-locating to Scotland."

Barclays Bank

4.1.4 Key growth sectors

While connectivity infrastructure is seldom provided for a single sector, the relative importance of different forms of connectivity for different sectors should help inform priorities for investing in connectivity to boost Scotland's competitiveness. Out of the seven key sectors (Creative Industries; Energy; Financial & Business Services; Food & Drink; Life Sciences; Tourism; and Universities), all seven list international air connectivity in their top four connectivity priorities. In addition, the Creative Industries and Financial & Business Services both list easy access to London as a priority, whilst Tourism highlights easy access to the English market. A high speed rail network has the potential to bring significant benefits to these sectors. A direct link to Heathrow airport would improve Scotland's international air connectivity and the high speed rail network would enhance connectivity with the entire English market.

Creative Industries - Scotland has a thriving Creative Industries sector which contributes £2.4 billion to the Scottish economy and supports over 60,000 jobs. There are a number of highly innovative companies in all areas of digital media, from international leaders in games development and interactive platforms to national broadcasters, successful production companies and some of the most creative digital agencies in the UK. This is supported by global centres of research excellence developing next generation technologies to support ongoing growth in the digital media environment.

In Scotland, the Creative Industries comprise a number of sub-sectors: advertising; architecture; the art/antiques trade; crafts; design; designer fashion; video, film, music and photography; music and the visual and performing arts; publishing; computer games, software and electronic publishing; radio and television.

City centre to city centre travel is particularly important to the creative industries, in particular to the television and advertising sectors. London is the dominant location in the UK for most creative industries activities and so access to this market is vital. Both the cost and time of access to this market have been identified as a barrier and is a major complaint of companies in this sector. In addition to London, Manchester is also important. Consequently, there are significant benefits to Creative Industries from a high speed rail link to Scotland.

Tourism - Scotland's tourism industry is made up of around 20,000 businesses, and supports nearly 204,000 jobs directly and indirectly. The sector generates nearl £4.1 billion for Scotland's economy ever year, accounting for approximately 4% of Scotland's GDP. Tourism expenditure is forecast to grow at an annual real growth rate of 3% per annum over the period 2010 to 2020 with spending by inbound visitors forecast to grow at a faster rate than spending by domestic residents (4.4% versus 2.6%). Business tourism accounts for 20% of total tourism spend, worth around £827 million to Scotland's economy[36]. Furthermore, 29% of all international association meetings held in the UK are hosted by Scotland, with Glasgow and Edinburgh both ranked among the top 30 cities in the world for conferences[37].

" Glasgow tourism sector is significantly constrained by the lack of available capacity servicing the West Coast main rail line, with overcrowding on services at the weekends. The immediate result is the limiting of the expansion of the tourism industr in Glasgow and the West Coast of Scotland. For Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom to flourish, it is economically essential that the Central Belt is not just serviced adequately, but is serviced by HS2."

Glasgow City Marketing Bureau

Scotland, and the UK in general, is facing significant competition from mainland Europe for the domestic visitor, which is a hugely important component of both Scotland and the UK's tourism revenue, with 12.4 million tourist trips to Scotland in 2010 being made by people from within the UK, spending over £2.6 billion. Of this, English residents recorded 5.5 million overnight trips. The North West and Yorkshire represented the largest English resident markets, although visitors from the East Midlands showed the greatest growth. Of the 12.4 million tourists, only 14% of these tourists travel to their destination by rail, with 65% of tourists driving to Scotland. Therefore, a high speed rail link to Glasgow and Edinburgh has significant potential for modal shift and the improved accessibility will increase the tourism competitiveness of the whole of Scotland. Connectivity is currently viewed as a weakness in Scottish tourism and the possibility of high speed rail to Scotland from a major international hub such as London would also assist in attracting international tourists, many of whom will first arrive in London. Transport infrastructure can particularly support the development of urban tourism, especially for short stays which are an important market for Scotland, and a major driver of visits to Glasgow and Edinburgh. The high speed rail link will also benefit the rest of the UK as it increases the accessibility of tourist attractions throughout the UK for the people of Scotland.

"The University of Edinburgh provides considerable support for the Edinburgh Festivals and tourism. The advent of high speed connections between UK cities will help sustain the existing visitor population and is likely to facilitate further growth in visitors to Edinburgh. Edinburgh is a major location for conferences and the University is one of the city's important venues. The largest gateway for international visitors to the UK is London, hence the ability for visitors to get quickly and easily to Edinburgh via high speed rail would significantly improve Edinburgh's and the University's opportunities to attract visitors across all markets."

University of Edinburgh

Tourism plays an important role throughout Scotland. The boost to tourism brought about by the new high speed rail link will not be restricted to Glasgow and Edinburgh. The improved journey times to these two cities will shorten rail journeys between England and tourist destinations throughout Scotland, resulting in increased levels of tourism. The improvements in connectivity will be supported by the projects outlined in the Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR) which are complements to the high speed rail link to Scotland. These projects are outlined in section 4.2.1.

Financial & Business Services - Despite recent events in the global banking sector, Scotland remains an attractive and highly competitive location for both indigenous and international financial services businesses and there is still huge potential for growth, particularly in asset management, asset servicing and the insurance sector. Financial services account for more than 4% of Scottish jobs, directly employing 96,000 people, with 70,000 more employed indirectly. This represents 8% of total employment in the sector across the UK. However, recent developments within the sector will have an impact on this. The industry contributes more than 7% of the Scottish GDP and accounts for around 6% of total international Scottish exports.

" The Barclays Campus in Glasgow runs with approximately 1500 staff supporting Barclays Capital, Wealth and Corporate. This includes colleagues supporting our client facing, finance, IT and operational activities. Our business supports the Barclays business which is based in Canary Wharf in London and we also support a UK wide branch network including locations in many UK cities including Newcastle, Birmingham and Edinburgh. The nature of this support requires a number of colleagues to visit these cities on a regular basis. At the current time for many of these locations the only available quick option to maximise visiting colleagues time in the relevant offices is by flying".

Barclays Bank

Despite the challenges, financial services still remains an important sector for Scotland, with real potential and expertise in areas such as asset servicing and fund management. London is the main market in this sector and so city centre to city centre links are paramount. Therefore, the reduced journey times and increased journey time reliability, brought about by the introduction of a high speed rail link, will bring significant benefits to the financial and business services.

" Dundas and Wilson is a UK commercial law firm with offices in London, Edinburgh and Glasgow. We understand the importance of sustainable economic growth and the critical role played by our transport infrastructure in supporting such growth. Connectivity is a key requirement for our business. Of course we utilise modern IT communication systems but face to face contact will always underpin a successful solicitor-client relationship. To operate in a UK market means travelling between our offices and to our clients' offices.

A high speed rail service connecting our three home cities would offer a competitive and sustainable travel alternative. This would save valuable time, which would benefit our clients and our staff. We want to deliver an efficient service to our clients - and efficiency involves many things, including travel. We also want our staff to get home to their families at the end of the day without unnecessary delay."

Dundas and Wilson CS LLP

Life Sciences - Scotland is home to the second largest life science cluster in the UK and one of the most sizable clusters in Europe, with a significant international presence. There are over 630 organisations in Scotland employing over 32,000 people. Scotland's main focus is on human healthcare with over 70% of the core life science organisations involved in this area.

Universities - Scotland has 19 higher education institutions, with 16 of these having university status. A high speed rail link would be particularly beneficial by enabling greater collaboration between academic institutions throughout the UK. The new link would make it easier and quicker for universities to develop relationships and collaborate on research propositions.

Food & Drink - Scotland is home to some of the best natural produce and most skilled food and drink producers in the world. The vibrant food and drink sector includes internationally famous whisky brands, premium seafood and meat producers and innovative speciality products.

Food & Drink was Scotland's top exporting industry in 2009. The improvements which could be seen to freight services on the existing network would support the industry which relies on good freight and logistics for product supply.

" There is no doubt that an improved and higher speed rail link to the major cities in England, including London, would be of huge benefit to Life Sciences companies in Scotland. With the developing complexity of air travel and the proximity of train stations to major centres of commerce it is clear that the competitiveness of the Life Sciences industry in Scotland would be enhanced significantl by improvements to rail travel including reductions in time. Communication technology has enhanced business interaction with customers but business is still heavily dependent on people meeting face-to-face and reducing the time it takes to go between the major centres of industry will only improve Scotland's commercial competitiveness.

We must maintain our position in the world and better communication and transport infrastructure are key parts in ensuring that this will be possible."

Sistemic Ltd

4.1.5 Benefit to the UK economy

A high speed rail link to Scotland will strengthen connections between the UK's major cities, bringing 5.2 million people and 2.4 million jobs closer to the rest of the UK. As highlighted in section 2.4 the Scottish economy is 8% of the UK economy, with the wider Glasgow and Edinburgh regions providing around two-thirds of that output and therefore, a link with Scotland will provide significantly improved connectivity between key economic centres.

Key Message

The investment case for high speed rail is strong, but is stronger when Scotland is included. This gives a better return to the UK economy and its taxpayers.

Analysis undertaken for the Glasgow Edinburgh Collaboration Initiative (2011) shows that "linkages between wider Edinburgh/wider Glasgow and metropolitan areas in England and Wales generally indicates that connections to cities in the north of England are more important than would be expected". With the introduction of high speed rail these connections would be strengthened and would grow, benefitting all of the UK economy.

There is support for Scotland's inclusion in a high speed rail link from London, Manchester and Liverpool, as demonstrated by the quotes below.

" For HS2 to improve the country's connectivity and infrastructure Capacity, it must reach the whole of the UK. Only then will the expected business and transport benefits be enjoyed by the entire country.

Consequently, the line should also be planned and thought of in its totality, rather than independent and isolated sections."

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry
'Connecting opportunities: making the most of HS2'

" Glasgow and Greater Manchester are two of the UK's largest economies and the third and fourth biggest population centres in the country. Strong economic development within these cities will be essential for countering the economic dominance of London and providing the driver for growth within their respective regions. As such, high quality links between these centres is essential for developing trade, tourism and expanding the knowledge, opportunities and labour catchment areas for these conurbations.

Significantly though, the benefits of high speed rail are greater over longer distances and therefore the time savings between Manchester and Glasgow would be significant enough to help deliver a shift in mode of travel and generate passenger demand on the new rail network."

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

" The Government should aim to extend High Speed coverage to Scotland and other areas of the UK over the longer term as a strategic development priority. Improved rail links between the North West and Scotland would benefit both regions. Liverpool is an increasingly popular destination for international travellers and we would welcome improved links with other key tourist destinations such as Glasgow and Edinburgh."

Liverpool Chamber of Commerce

4.1.6 Passenger demand and revenue

As highlighted in section 1.1, forecasts show substantial growth in demand for long-distance rail trips and substantial increases in crowding on the West Coast Main Line in the absence of high speed rail. With a high speed rail line these increases in passenger numbers are estimated to be significantly greater, but without the capacity constraints. The substantial increases can be driven by three impacts:

  • Faster journeys and more access to other locations will attract more people to travel, and travel more often
  • Reductions in journey times will make rail more competitive with other modes (particularly air travel) driving modal shift
  • Additional demand can be generated by better use of capacity freed up on existing lines.

" The further extension of the national high speed rail network northwards from Leeds to Scotland, via York and an eastern route to Edinburgh, would certainly offer advantages by providing journey time benefits for our respective cities and for those centres of population along the route, including in the North East. It could thereby improve significantly business links between Edinburgh and Leeds, two of UK PLC's major financial centres"

Leeds City Region LEP Board

Key Message

High speed services must deliver journey times which will capture the existing air market between Scotland's Central Belt and London. This will free capacity at London's airports, protecting and enhancing air links to the North of Scotland [as well as freeing up international route slots and facilitate London's continuing key role as a global centre of trade and a financial services hub].

Modelling undertaken for Greengauge 21 (2009b) emphasises the potential impact of including Scotland in the high speed rail network as their estimates show an incremental increase in passenger numbers of 28.8 million by 2055 from extending from Manchester to Scotland. The demand analysis breaks the high speed rail demand down into sources, with a significant proportion being abstracted from air.

Table 4

Incremental increase in demand in 2055 of extending from Manchester to Scotland
Incremental Increase in Annual Rail Passengers (million) Contribution to Incremental Increase in Annual Rail Passengers (%)
High speed rail demand 28.8
Of which is:
Abstracted from classic rail 9.5 33%
Abstracted from air 15.6 54%
Abstracted from car 2.1 7%
New generated high speed users 1.6 6%

Source: Greengauge 21 (2009b)

Evidence from France suggests that the increase in demand of extending the high speed rail network to Scotland will be impacted by fuel prices[38]. Analysis of demand between Lille and Nice and Lille and Brussels shows that fuel prices have a significant impact on the levels of demand for long-distance trips, Lille to Nice, but not on demand for journeys over shorter distances, Lille to Brussels. This is significant as it shows that if fuel prices were to rise then the increase in demand for high speed rail journeys between London and Scotland is likely to rise.

These estimates of increased passenger demand are highly significant for a variety of reasons. One consequence is the new high speed rail line generates significant levels of revenue. HS2 Ltd (2011b) estimate that the high speed rail link from London to the West Midlands would generate an increase of £13.7billion (2009 PV/prices) in revenue over the 60 year appraisal period (which is equivalent to £11.5billion (2002 PV/prices). However, to achieve the greatest increases in revenue the high speed rail network needs to include Scotland because a significant proportion of the increased revenue will be new to rail, i.e. abstracted from the aviation market. Greengauge 21 (2009b) estimate that the marginal increase in revenue of including a Manchester - Scotland section in the network is £10 billion (2002 PV/prices) over 60 years.

4.2 Benefits to passengers and rail operators

4.2.1 All of Scotland will benefit

Although the proposed high speed rail network would only link directly with Glasgow and Edinburgh the network would bring benefits to the whole of Scotland. The Scottish Government's Economic Strategy sets out how a more successful country will be created through increasing sustainable economic growth. Scotland's National Transport Strategy (NTS) provides an overarching strategy for transport and introduced three key strategic outcomes i.e.

  • Improved journey times and connections
  • Reduced emissions
  • Improved quality, accessibility and affordability.

These outcomes are being delivered through the STPR (10 December 2008) which sets out 29 investment priorities over the period to 2032 which will be delivered subject to the transport allocation within future Spending Reviews and affordability.

The STPR interventions will support the case for a high speed rail link to Scotland by allowing all of Scotland to share in the economic benefit of the network by providing onward rail connections from the Edinburgh and Glasgow termini. The key recommendations are:

Intervention 13 - Rail Enhancements in the East of Scotland will increase rail capacity between Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife.

Intervention 15 - Edinburgh to Glasgow Rail Improvement Programme (EGIP) has been prioritised for delivery by 2016 and will electrify the lines between Edinburgh and Glasgow and up to Stirling improving journey times and capacity.

Intervention 17 - Rail Enhancements on the Highland Main Line between Perth and Inverness has also been prioritised for delivery and will see improvements in journey time and frequency between Inverness and Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Intervention 23 - Rail Service Enhancements between Aberdeen and the Central Belt will improve journey times and frequency between Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh and Glasgow. Related to this is Intervention 28 - Inverkeithing to Halbeath Rail Line.

Intervention 26 - Rail Enhancements between Inverclyde/Ayrshire and Glasgow will increase rail capacity between Glasgow and south and west areas in Scotland.

There are also recommendations which will be enabled by the provision of the new High Speed Rail line.

Intervention 24 (also National Planning Framework - National Development 2) - West of Scotland Strategic Rail Enhancements recognises the need to improve public transport capacity and connectivity in Glasgow and the West of Scotland. The provision of the high speed rail terminus in Glasgow provides opportunities to improve this capacity and connectivity.

Intervention 27 - Enhancements to Rail Freight between Glasgow and the Border via the West Coast Main Line (WCML) recognises the need to increase the number of freight paths on the WCML. A new high speed rail line will allow a greater use by freight of the existing WCML. Transfer of long-distance passenger services to a new high speed line will release capacity to develop better regional rail links under the ScotRail franchise, meeting the needs of communities such as Lockerbie or Dunbar, which are principally served by existing cross border operators.

The Scottish Government, through Transport Scotland, is continuing the programme of new rail build, and with completion of the Borders Rail Project will bring greater connectivity between Edinburgh and communities in the South of Scotland.



" High speed rail will also provide opportunities to enhance flights to London and Europe from domestic markets which will benefit less directly from HSR, for example northern parts of Scotland. It is essential that a proportion of released slots at London "hub" airports are protected for domestic flights to/from these more peripheral regions of the UK."

Transport Futures
Written evidence to TSC (HSR 144)

Even with greater rail connectivity across Scotland, the Partnership Group recognises that areas of northern Scotland will still be reliant on aviation as the principal mode of connectivity with London. High speed rail will reduce demand for air travel in the UK's busiest domestic aviation market, between Scotland's Central Belt and London. Capacity will be released at London's airports. It is vital that the availability of landing slots for connections to Scotland's northern airports is maintained at current levels, at a minimum.

" A proper end-to-end HSR system offers transport which is faster, more environmentally friendly, more comfortable, more central and better economically than air. The freeing up of London landing slots would enable access from more northerly airports such as Inverness, Aberdeen and the Northern Isles which struggle to get access now."

Edinburgh Chambers of Commerce
Written evidence to TSC (HSR 95)

4.2.2 Capacity

A new high speed rail line to Scotland will create additional capacity across the network and, by removing long-distance services from existing lines, create new opportunities for local, interregional passenger and freight service provision.

4.2.3 How would additional capacity benefit Scotland?

Network Rail's West Coast Main Line Route Utilisation Strategy[39] (WCML RUS) notes that there are increasing demands of freight and passenger traffic on the line leading to restricted capacity in the short term. It reports that the line will be nearly full by 2024, and that the development of the proposed high speed line represents the best solution for addressing additional demand for services over the West Coast 'corridor'.

The initial development of HS2 will release capacity on the southern reaches of the West Coast Main Line.

The bullet points below outline the line capacity constraints that the West Coast Main Line RUS identified in Scotland, and how a high speed rail link to Scotland would successfully overcome these:

  • Long-distance on-train crowding to/from London Euston
  • On-train crowding between Birmingham and Scotland
  • Friday to Sunday on-train crowding between Manchester and Scotland

High speed rail will introduce significant on-train capacity between Scotland and destinations in England, alleviating problems of overcrowding and providing for passenger growth.

  • Insufficient freight capacity north of Preston

Moving all existing LDHS journeys to a new high speed rail will release train paths for freight service provision.

" The high speed rail proposals to link London and major cities to Manchester and Leeds is essential to provide additional capacity on these congested corridors and allow for the growth of rail freight, estimated to more than double by 2030.

Whereas these first phases of a high speed network are welcome, the congestion on routes between England and Scotland is already serious. Failure to deal with this will constrain growth in the future. A continuation of the high speed lines to Edinburgh and Glasgow would free up capacity, particularly on the West Coast Main Line corridor, to meet the fast growing demand for rail freight on this corridor."

Lord Berkele
Chairman, Rail Freight Group

" Demand for services on the West Coast Main Line is predicted to grow strongly, with the line reaching full capacity within 12 years. Already the busiest the rail freight line in Europe, carrying 43% of all UK rail freight, we can ill afford to ignore the need for significant investment in the line. High speed rail will not only deliver the necessary long term capacity enhancements but allow greater opportunities for freight services between the North West and Scotland."

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

  • Irregular services or no direct services between the North West (Manchester and Liverpool respectively) and Scotland

High speed rail will deliver new journey opportunities between key cities; it will also free capacity on existing lines for new inter-regional journey opportunities.

  • Poor frequency of direct services between Lockerbie and Glasgow/Edinburgh

A new high speed rail line will release train paths for additional regional passenger services.

Previous route strategy documents have identified similar gaps across the network. The East Coast Route Utilisation Strategy[40] considered the aspiration for improved connectivity at Dunbar and North Berwick, and improvements to timetable speed in northern sections of the route. These may be achieved as additional capacity is released by the development of high speed lines.

4.2.4 Punctuality and reliability

As well as benefiting from additional capacity, users of the high speed rail network should expect high levels of punctuality, beating delays on the road network, in the air and on the existing conventional rail network.

Evidence from Spain supports the argument that high speed rail can deliver these characteristics, with passengers on Madrid to Seville services offered full refunds if their train does not arrive within five minutes of the advertised time. Records to date show that only 0.16% of trains have been delayed by more than five minutes. These features all contribute to the higher quality journeys enjoyed on high speed rail compared to air travel, with other advantages including significantly less disruptions associated with security check as well as greater potential for wireless communications and use of IT equipment. The ability of the high speed rail network to provide these benefits is significant as it is these that may help drive modal shift more from air to high speed rail rather than simply reflecting differences in journey time.

4.3 Environment

The assessment of a project's environmental impact is a key part of appraisal, particularl as high speed rail is frequently presented as a low-carbon technology. A key determinant of this is the ability of high speed rail to achieve modal shift from air to rail.

Key Message

High speed rail offers environmental benefits to the UK. These are maximised when longer journeys such as London - Scotland are included. High speed rail reduces our reliance on carbon fuels.

DfT (2007) argued that the embodied carbon element of a new high speed rail line was expected to be substantial, and only where significant modal shift from air to rail was possible, was a net reduction (embodied carbon less operational carbon) achieved. This led the study to conclude that proposed routes from London to Birmingham and London to Manchester would make a potential increased contribution to carbon emissions and that an extension to Scotland was essential in providing significant reductions in UK carbon emissions.

" Shepherd and Wedderburn is a UK law firm with offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and London. With a client base throughout the UK and beyond, it is critical that our lawyers are able to be where their clients need them.

Our business is built on personal relationships which rely on meeting our clients to get to know them and to understand their business.

A high speed link between Edinburgh and Glasgow and connecting Scotland and London would significantly reduce our carbon footprint as well as increasing our reach and responsiveness to clients."

Shepherd and Wedderburn

4.3.1 Overall emissions associated with cross-border travel

There is widespread agreement that the net contribution of high speed rail to carbon emissions is dependent on the degree of modal shift from air to rail, and on the change in the number of flights. This view is held by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) as calculations for the Fourth Carbon Budget show "a maximum potential emissions reduction of 2 MtCO2 annually through switching from aviation to high speed rail". They also estimate that "the effects of high speed rail proposals on surface transport emissions (i.e. the combined effect of the increase in emissions from electricity generation and any reduction in car emissions through modal shift) would be negligible"[41].

Modal shift from air to rail is generally accepted as being largely determined by the journey time by rail, with the generally accepted relationship being an inverted 'S' shaped curve reflecting how increasing journey time reduces the rail share of a cit to city market.

Figure 2 below shows point data for a range of European and UK city-pairs. A trend line shows this inverted 'S' shaped relationship.

Figure 2
Rail/air market share

Figure 2 - Rail/air market share

Figure 2 shows that a step change in journey time to 3 hours is required to achieve a significant rail market share. Since the potential carbon benefit of a new high speed rail line is greatest where rail share is currently low, operating a new high speed rail line over longer distances, where strong air competition exists, offers a potential opportunity to reduce overall long-distance transport emissions. If a journey time is already around two and a half hours then the rail market share will already be high and therefore the potential for modal shift is limited. Consequently, only a high speed rail network which includes Scotland and therefore delivers journey times of under three hours can achieve significant modal shift from air to rail.

" We are aware of the ecological footprint of flying and would actively seek alternatives that can allow us to complete our business but reduce our ecological foot print. A high speed rail link would very much increase our options provided to all staff required to travel if the times quoted can be delivered."

Barclays Bank

Internationally, the introduction of high speed rail services on long-distance routes has been proven to encourage modal shift. In some cases commercial airlines have withdrawn routes served by new high speed rail services, including between Paris and Marseille and London to Paris. In Spain, the introduction of the Madrid to Barcelona high speed line has allowed rail to capture a market share marginally below 50%, and this is expected to increase significantly over the short to medium term[42]. The following table shows the significant modal shift from other transport modes and the growth in the rail market share across key European travel markets.

Table 5

Change In Rail Market Share across key European Routes
Route Distance Before After
Paris to Marseille (TGV, 1999-2005) 663 km/412 miles 22% 65%
Madrid to Seville (AVE, 1991-1997) 391 km/243 miles 19% 53%
Paris to Brussels (Thalys, 1994-2005) 262 km/163 miles 24% 52%

Source: Eurostar (2009)

HS2 Ltd (2011a) also identify international examples of significant mode shift after the introduction of high speed rail. The consultation paper highlights the route between Frankfurt and Cologne where flights have almost ceased since the opening of high speed rail connections.

A high speed rail network which includes Scotland will also have environmental benefits through increased provision for rail freight. As highlighted in section 4.2.3, a new high speed rail line will release train paths for freight service provision preventing freight from having to remain on the road due to the existing line reaching capacity.

Forecasts prepared for Greengauge 21 (2009a) suggest that a full high speed rail network would result in an annual reduction in CO2 emissions by 2055 of 1 million tonnes, with the Manchester to Scotland section accounting for 54% of this reduction. This is based on the expected reductions in car and air travel, but also takes into account the forecast carbon emissions arising from passengers travelling on high speed rail services. By far the biggest benefit is secured from the forecast reduction in air travel. This assumes that electricity is increasingly generated by low-carbon sources, as indicated by government policy.

Assessments of future emissions are also complicated by the treatment of landing slots at constrained airports freed up in any shift from air to rail (the CCC estimate shown earlier requires these are withheld) and the impact of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, which caps total emissions in certain sectors, including electricity generation. Changes to these assumptions would reduce the estimated carbon saving but would allow for increased economic impacts through, respectively, increased flight connections and other economic activity which would otherwise be subject to the cap.

4.3.2 Embodied carbon

Embodied carbon represents the carbon emissions associated with construction operations such as constructing the rail infrastructure and trains, as well as the embodied carbon within the bulk construction materials. HS2 Ltd (2011c) attempted to estimate the embodied carbon associated with building a new high speed rail line. The results are shown in the table below.

Table 6

Embodied Carbon Emissions for Current Proposed Route and the Extension to Scotland
Route Carbon Emissions MtCO2e
Current Proposed Route +1.2 (+0.29 to +2.12)
Extension to Scotland[1] +5.36 (+1.16 to +9.59)
The Reference Case 0 (0 - 0)

Source: HS2 Ltd (2011c)

Notes: [1]The extension to Scotland route refers to the route from the West Midlands to Scotland.
Carbon emissions are expressed as a mean and range of uncertainty. No details are available at present for embodied carbon associated with the reference case.

Emissions from embodied carbon are largely due to the use of high energy bulk materials such as steel and concrete, and high energy intensive construction practices such as tunnel boring. It should be highlighted that the embodied carbon emissions figure presented in table 7 for the extension to Scotland is the total embodied carbon for the route from the West Midlands to Scotland and therefore is higher than the marginal impact of extending from the North of England to Scotland.

On balance, it can be seen that despite considerable levels of embodied carbon, the inclusion of Scotland in the UK's high speed rail network is essential for realising significant reductions in UK carbon emissions as it vitally important in achieving major levels of modal shift from air to high speed rail.