A PAIR of nine-mile tunnels under the Firth of Forth linking Edinburgh with the Fife peninsula has been proposed as part of a £22 billion rail prospectus set out by the Scottish Green Party.
The 20-year Rail for All programme is based on a report commissioned from Deltix Transport Consulting by MSP John Finnie, the party’s transport spokesperson; the report was co-authored by David Spaven and David Prescott. The Firth of Forth Tunnel would remove services from the current bottleneck through Haymarket, with services north towards Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness instead leaving the capital to the east, with a connection from the former Abbeyhill loop east of Calton Tunnel to two nine-mile single bore tunnels surfacing at Seafield, between Kinghorn and Kirkcaldy. The plan would involve building a double-ended underground station at Leith and could cut journey times by 25 minutes. Deltix Transport Consulting estimates the cost of this project at between £4 and £6 billion.
Other proposals in the ambitious prospectus include accelerating electrification of the Scottish network so it is completed by 2030, ahead of the Scottish Government’s current target of decarbonising its rail network by 2035. Where electrification is not practical the report suggests battery-powered trains should be used, but equipped with pantographs to use overhead wires where available. However, it rules out the use of hydrogen-powered rolling stock given ‘green hydrogen’ from renewable sources is a limited resource that is needed in parts of the economy where there are no other alternatives.