There’s only about 60 km between Scotland’s two largest cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh (counting from city boundary to city boundary along the motorway), yet they have separate airports and it takes 50 minutes to take a train from city centre to city centre.
Looking further afar, Inverness is only about 180 km north of Glasgow as the crow flies, or about 270 km by road, yet the fastest train is underway for almost 3½ hours.
I could give similar figures for travel to the other Scottish cities, such as Aberdeen and Dundee.
This is ridiculous! It’s like all efforts go into providing good connexions to London, instead of tying Scotland closer together.
In an ideal world, I’d shut down Glasgow and Edinburgh airports and build a new one south of Falkirk (the exact location would of course have to depend on the topology). I’d then build some very straight rail tracks from Glasgow via the new airport to Edinburgh, so that the trains could achieve a decent speed (I’m imagining something like 15 minutes from either city centre to the airport, or about 30 minutes from Glasgow to Edinburgh).
Furthermore, I’d straighten out the tracks to at least Inverness and Aberdeen, add parallel tracks and electrify the whole lot, so that decent speeds could be achieved there, too. I’m not sure exactly what would be possible, but I reckon it should be possible to get the travel time from Inverness to Glasgow or Edinburgh down to under two hours, and hopefully close to one hour.
The effect would be that all Scottish cities would be within easy reach of each other, which would no doubt do wonders for the Scottish economy. It would also mean only one airport was needed for mainland Scotland, which would result in a big airport with lots of direct connexions, instead of just having small airports mainly sending passengers on to the larger hub airports such as Heathrow.
Besides, I’m sure a big infrastructure project such as this would be just what the doctor ordered against the recession…