In 2022 the High Speed Rail Group recruited a Taskforce of industry and academic experts to inform a report setting out new analysis of how high speed rail can reach Scotland, and how it will benefit inter-city travel.

The report – High Speed Britain Scottish Inter-City Connectivity – contains recent analysis suggesting carbon emissions per passenger of an electric train travelling between Glasgow and London are just 4.9kg – just a fifth of earlier Department for Transport analysis. By contrast, 43.2kg is emitted for a car to cover the same journey, and 304kg for a flight – meaning a flight emits 60 times more carbon per passenger than a comparable train journey.

HS2 is intended to be the backbone of a new national rail network which adds new capacity for passengers and freight, as well as shorter journey times. The scheme has been mired in delays and ahead of the last Budget, the initial London terminus was pushed west to Old Oak Common outside Central London, while the overall programme was paused for two years.

The Scottish Inter-City Rail Taskforce warns the lack of an economic masterplan to implement HS2 is limiting the wider economic opportunities from the new railway, and pushing back development of further high speed lines into the latter half of the century.

The Taskforce concluded: “Across Europe, airlines and rail operators are collaborating to shift long-distance domestic travel from air to rail, delivering significant carbon savings and freeing up airlines to focus on the international routes for which they are best suited.

Our sincere thanks go out to all members of our Scottish Inter-City Taskforce, as well as to
our Chair Alex Neil, for their highly valuable insight and recommendations regarding the
future of the Scottish rail industry.
• Alex Neil, Scottish Inter-City Rail Taskforce
• Scott Prentice, ScotRail
• Sara Thiam, SCDI
• Liz McAreavey, Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce
• John McCormick, Scottish Association of Public Transport
• Willie Fraser, Jacobs
• Iain Docherty, University of Stirling
• Tom Wadsworth, Siemens/ High Speed Rail Group
• Hsham Rashid, Transport Scotland (Observer status)
• Angus Robertson, Network Rail (Observer status