The Scottish Government has unveiled plans for a high-speed rail network in a new £60bn mega infrastructure plan that includes 54 projects for road and rail, among a total of 80 others.

Completing the high-speed link from the north west of England to Scotland would cost about £15bn.

The plan sets out that a new high-speed rail link is required as the situation at Glasgow Central station will not allow adding more services due to the number of platforms.

Infrastructure and capital investment secretary Alex Neil said this represents a mega-plan for Scotland that will take them forward into the 21st century as a competitive and modern nation with an infrastructure that is up to the job.

The other wider railway improvements include upgrading the signalling and trackwork on the Paisley Corridor, reopening the Stirling – Alloa- Kincardine railway and reinstating the line between Airdrie and Bathgate, as well as reopening Laurencekirk station.

Furthermore, the plan aims to reduce journey times between Edinburgh and Glasgow, from Aberdeen to the central belt, Aberdeen to Inverness and on the Highlands main line.

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By GlobalData

The mega-plan revealed that about 24% of the 2,759km rail network is electrified, and the increasing backlog of structural maintenance and bridge maintenance schemes would require an additional £713m to clear.

The government said a phased completion of the electrification of the rail network across Scotland will begin with the work on the EGIP, providing most of the central belt with electric traction.

This will allow the opportunity to choose the electricity supplier who makes the greatest contribution to renewable energy.

The government said that the emerging consensus is that a more joined up approach to delivering services, with key decision-making taken locally, is the best way to make rail services more efficient, and Network Rail has already responded to this through its decentralisation strategy.

Transport Scotland has revealed it is also working with Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) on their proposals to modernise Glasgow’s subway system, which carries nearly 13 million passengers a year.

The agency has noted that it will continue to work with SPT and Glasgow City Council on the finalisation of their Fastlink proposals.