Views are being sought for a Scottish Parliament inquiry into high-speed rail links from Scotland to the rest of the UK and Europe.
The Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee wants to hear from parties interested in how improved links could potentially reduce train journey times and see an increase in passenger numbers between Scotland and the rest of the UK and Europe.
Launching the inquiry Patrick Harvie MSP said: “The inquiry is seeking as many views as possible on the potential of the introduction of a high-speed rail service linking Scotland with the rest of the UK and Europe.
"The inquiry will consider the potential benefits of such a development and the hurdles which would need to be tackled before it can progress.
The Committee will look at the cost implications, the technology which would be required and also how much work would need to be carried out to improve Scotland’s existing rail infrastructure to ensure the whole of Scotland can be connected effectively to a high-speed network.
"We will also examine the extent to which such developments could persuade more people to use rail rather than car or air travel.”
The committee has agreed to focus on the following key areas for the inquiry:
- To identify the potential economic and environmental benefits associated with the development of a high-speed rail network linking Scotland with major population centres in the UK and Europe;
- The work required to ensure Scotland’s existing rail infrastructure can connect effectively with any high-speed network;
- The cost implications and practicalities of constructing a high-speed line, and the different options for routes and train types;
- The identification of any potential barriers preventing the development of high-speed rail links;
- The potential for high-speed and improved links to persuade people to choose rail travel ahead of domestic flights and long-distance driving.
The deadline for submitting evidence for the inquiry is Friday 17 October 2008.
The TICC Committee agreed in May 2008 to hold an inquiry into high-speed rail links between Scotland and the rest of the UK and Europe. The remit of the inquiry was agreed at the Committee’s meeting on 24 June 2008.
A recent report by the House of Commons Transport Committee recommended that the UK Government consider the development of new high-speed rail links. The TICC Committee inquiry will examine this issue from a Scottish perspective.