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by Louise Wilson
13 January 2021
Scottish Greens propose underground Forth rail tunnel

The plan would reduce pressure on the Forth Rail Bridge, the party says

Scottish Greens propose underground Forth rail tunnel

The Scottish Greens have called for the creation of a railway tunnel underneath the Firth of Forth to link Edinburgh and Fife.

The project, estimated at £4-6bn, would reduce journey times and increase capacity on the rail network, the party states.

It would see the creation of an underground railway station in Leith, which has not been served by rail since the closure of Leith Central Station in the 1950s, and connect the east of the city to Kirkcaldy.

This would decrease pressure on the “major bottleneck” at the Forth Rail Bridge, a report said.

The proposal forms part of a wider £22bn Rail for All programme being put forward by the Scottish Greens based on research from Deltix Transport Consulting.

Green MSP John Finnie said: “Our fully-costed £22bn plan would transform Scotland’s railway, building a modern, zero-carbon network that is affordable and accessible to all.

“Rail for All is about making rail the natural choice for every journey, whether you’re commuting, travelling for business or leisure.

“The investment would also be a central component of Scotland’s green recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, creating thousands of quality, unionised jobs whilst delivering the infrastructure so necessary to tackle the climate emergency.”

The party report highlights underground railway tunnels are “relatively common” in mainland Europe, including the 9.6-mile Cenera Base tunnel in Switzerland which opened last year.

Other recommendations include the constructions of a new overground station at St Enoch’s in Glasgow, electrification of the inter-city network by 2030, and upgrading the Highland, Far North, West Highland and Ayr–Stranraer lines.

David Spaven, principal of Deltix Transport Consulting, said: “Based on our long experience in the industry – and taking account of international best practice – we put together a programme focused not just on rail’s crucial contribution to decarbonisation, but also on the wide range of other environmental, social and economic benefits it offers.

“The great thing about Rail for All is that it serves the whole of Scotland and is both achievable and a game-changer – and can deliver many of the benefits in the first decade.”

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