Scotland is planning to commission feasibility studies in a bid to identify options to help improve train capacity and resilience on services between Scotland and England.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that the latest move forms the next stage in plans for reducing train journey times between the two countries.
The UK and Scottish governments commissioned work together last year to identify options for improvement on the east and west coast rail corridors with a focus on delivering three-hour journeys between Scotland and London.
The initial phase of this work has now been concluded.
After identifying a short list of options to improve the rail network, the analysis is now planned to be commissioned to understand the cost, benefits, environmental impacts as well as technical considerations for work in Scotland.
The primary focus of the feasibility study will be on the east coast line south of Dunbar towards Newcastle and on the west coast line between Glasgow and Carstairs.
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The potential for new cross-border stations within the Eurocentral business park and on the existing rail network near Livingston will be considered as part of the study.
Sturgeon said: “This work will provide us with the knowledge to make informed investments in the next ten years and move us towards our goal of a three-hour journey time to London and substantially reduced journey times to the cities in between.
“It is fitting that I am able to make this announcement while speaking to the North East England Chambers of Commerce. This work could have significant benefits for people and businesses on both sides of the border.”