A tunnel between Northern Ireland and Scotland would be boost to Belfast and a boost to rail travel

A letter from John Barstow:

Sunday, 14th March 2021, 6:00 am
Updated Sunday, 14th March 2021, 9:44 am
If there was a rail tunnel to Scotland there would be a freight terminal in the Belfast area where freight vehicles would load on to shuttle trains, like the Channel Tunnel train pictured

The feasibility study for a fixed connection between Northern Ireland and Scotland is positive news.

A North Channel rail tunnel would involve the construction of a freight terminal in Belfast area for carriage of Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland freight by train (vehicles would load on to trains) to Great Britain and continental Europe — and vice versa.

The tunnel would also be linked to the great ports of Belfast and Larne. By dint of their proximity to North Atlantic thee ports would become real strategic UK ports.

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Letter to the editor

Finally the tunnel would necessitate the reinstatement of the Dumfries-Stranraer line to provide for the most direct route between Belfast and likes of Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, London — and continental Europe.

There would also be scope for a ‘Scottish HS3’ project with Glasgow / Edinburgh — good for industrial hub arrangements.

Hence the rail tunnel is a carefully thought out concept with self-contained links on the Belfast side. No need for connection with the regular Irish network per se. In this context Belfast would enjoy an effective monopoly.

For (all Irish) freight to wish to navigate by rail to GB and continental Europe they would first have to be trucked to this Belfast freight terminal for loading on to train.

Good news for Belfast and good for employment in Belfast.

The question of different gauges on either side of the Irish Sea would not arise.

Finally the scheme would encourage a greater transfer of freight from road to rail. Lorry freight could also take advantage of ‘piggyback’ trains between Belfast and Calais area.

John Barstow, Pulborough, West Sussex

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