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SCOTTISH CHAMBERS WELCOMES NETWORK RAIL COMMITMENT ON HSR TO SCOTLAND

[ 26-08-2009 ]

 Scottish Chambers of Commerce this morning welcomed Network Rail's announcement of its preferred route for HS2, including Edinburgh and Glasgow.

 
Chief Executive Liz Cameron said:
 
"We welcome this vindication of the campaign we have run over the last eighteen months for an acceleration of our ambitions for High Speed Rail.  The fact that Network Rail prefers an initial West Coast alignment will be one that Ministers will have to consider.  The important principle which is established, however, is that HS2 only makes sense if it includes Scotland's Central Belt with the potential prize of a modal shift of 3.5 million journeys a year from air to rail.
 
This will also free up a great deal of capacity on existing lines for commuters and potentially take 71 million kilometers of freight traffic from road to rail every year.  Our High Speed 2 Scotland campaign has fired up people's imagination with the potential economic, environmental and capacity benefits of this major invention in creating a network fit for purpose for the twenty first century.   Our Parliament may be deveolved but our businesses are not.  Business in Scotland does not stop at the north-south divide.  We need to ensure tourists and the delivery of our products and services have the best chance of fast smooth access to our markets."
 
Campaign Chairman Brendan Dick, General Manager of BT in Scotland said: "Lord Adonis' commitment as Rail Minister to pioneer this major uplift in our High Speed Rail capacity is vital to our business competitiveness.  The inclusion of Scotland as a destination from the outset is vital. No doubt there will be considerable debate over the comparative merits of including England's North East in the actual route planned.  Our major concern is that Scotland should be included in the construction programme from the outset.
 
We look forward to the HS2 report in December and to the Minister's views on a long term vision for a country wide network."
 
ENDS

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