Rail plan

Greens call for £6bn tunnel under Forth

A tunnel would connect Edinburgh and Kirkcaldy

A rail tunnel connecting Edinburgh and Kirkcaldy is the centrepiece of a £22 billion package of transport improvements proposed by the Scottish Greens.

The party has unveiled the idea in a 20-year Rail for All programme as part of the country’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

It argues for a doubling of rail investment with a tunnel beneath the Firth of Forth

It argues that doubling rail investment with a tunnel beneath the Firth of Forth would ease pressure on the road system and help speed up journeys around the east of Scotland.

A report from Deltix Transport Consulting suggests “two nine-mile, single-bore rail tunnels” from Abbeyhill in Edinburgh to the Seafield area in Fife, between Kinghorn and Kirkcaldy, passing under Leith. It would connect to the east end of Waverley station.

Deltix estimates the project would cost between £4bn and £6bn and would include an underground station in Leith.

David Prescott, co-author of the Deltix report, said: “At a stroke the Forth Tunnel can transform the geography of Scotland, just as the Forth Bridge did 130 years ago and the Forth Road Bridge nearly 60 years ago.

“It would substantially cut the distance between Edinburgh and east Fife, Dundee, Aberdeen Perth and Inverness, whilst also putting Leith at the heart of the Scottish rail network.

“The Forth Tunnel would give this generation of Scottish engineers the opportunity to continue the strong traditions of their illustrious predecessors – creating transformational infrastructure for the nation.”

The Deltix report also proposes reintroducing an overground terminal station beside the St Enoch Centre in Glasgow, formerly a rail terminus before the station was replaced by the shopping mall.

The Greens are keen to see train operator and the network fully integrated as a publicly owned rail business, and full electrification of Scotland’s inter-city network brought forward from 2035 to 2030.

The party is keen to see every town with a population of more than 5,000 connected to the rail network.

Transport spokesman John Finnie said: “The Scottish Greens are proposing the biggest rail investment programme Scotland has ever seen.

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

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