Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North East Could Climb on Board as Scotland Gets on the Fast Track

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North East Could Climb on Board as Scotland Gets on the Fast Track

Article excerpt

Byline: Graeme Whitfield Business editor graeme.whitfield@ncjmedia.co.uk @Graemewhitfield

NEWCASTLE to Edinburgh rail journey times of less than an hour have been outlined in a new study being commissioned by the Scottish Government.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon used a a speech in the North East yesterday to announce a study into faster rail journeys between Scotland and England, saying both parts of the UK stand to benefit from closer links.

Mrs Sturgeon confirmed that feasibility studies were being commissioned to identify options to help improve train journey times, capacity, resilience and reliability on services between Scotland and England. Studies would be taking place on both east and west coast rail routes, with the first looking at how the route between Dunbar, in the south east of Scotland, and Newcastle could be improved to effectively decrease journey times by a third.

The announcement was made as the First Minister spoke to North East England Chamber of Commerce members in Gateshead, saying her administration was also looking at improvements to the A1 and A68 roads to provide better transport between Scotland and the North East.

Mrs Sturgeon said: "I am determined for us to take the necessary steps to secure Scotland's future and improve our connectivity with England.

"This work will provide us with the knowledge to make informed investments in the next ten years and move us towards our goal of a three-hour journey time to London and substantially reduced journey times to the cities in between.

"It is fitting that I am able to make this announcement while speaking to the North East England Chamber of Commerce. This work could have significant benefits for people and businesses on both sides of the border.

"For example, it is expected that these studies will confirm we will be able to reduce the journey time between Edinburgh and Newcastle by a third, down to only one hour, and also reduce journey times between Glasgow and Edinburgh and Carlisle.

"This will further enhance the opportunities for trade and leisure travel between these great cities, as well as the surrounding area."

Mrs Sturgeon's commitment to improve transport links with the North East have been welcomed by Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes. …

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