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Ministers agree on HS2 rail extension

Herald Scotland:

Damien Henderson, Transport Correspondent / / News

Published / News

THE Scottish and UK governments are to work together to extend a high speed rail network north of the Border following a "constructive" meeting of ministers in Edinburgh.

An agreement announced last night will see Transport Scotland work with the Department for Transport's delivery company, High Speed 2, to look at route options and ways of financing the multibillion-pound infrastructure project.

It will see a final timescale for delivery agreed by the end of the current term of the Scottish Parliament.

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The meeting, attended by UK Transport Secretary Justine Greening, Scottish Infrastructure Secretary Alex Neil, Transport Minister Keith Brown and Scottish Secretary Michael Moore, follows concern that Scotland was being left behind in the UK's high speed revolution.

The UK Government approved a controversial route in January which will carry trains at 250mph between London and Birmingham from 2024.

However, Scotland will derive only marginal journey time savings as trains will then have to travel on conventional track at slower speeds than the existing Pendolino trains in use on the West Coast Main Line.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Brown said it was not possible to give a date for when a route could be built in Scotland until more preparatory work was done.

But he said an agreement had now been reached to take a "collaborative" approach, adding: "It was a very positive and constructive meeting in which we agreed to start working with HS2 and engage with them to look at routes and financing issues."

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