THE UK Government is facing calls to clarify whether a vital piece of high-speed rail infrastructure will actually be built and bring benefits to the rail network in Scotland.

A report by Westminster’s Transport Select Committee on the Integrated Rail Plan expressed concerns over the scrapping of the £3 billion Golborne Link with a lack of alternative proposals – a decision that could impact rail capacity and journey times to Scotland.

The Committee report urged the Department for Transport to set out “alternative plans which add similar capacity as a minimum by March 2023”.

The publication of the Integrated Rail Plan last year included plans for the link, which would integrate the new HS2 line with the existing West Coast Mainline running south from Scotland.

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However, the UK Government announced last month that the link would be scrapped, with no replacement in place and works on Phase 2b of the HS2 project due to begin soon.

The news was met with fury from rail industry bodies, who said the decision to axe the 13-mile Golborne Link in Greater Manchester will lead to a “bottleneck”.

A joint statement from the Railway Industry Association, Rail Freight Group and High-Speed Rail Group said the Tory decision would "negatively impact outcomes for passengers, decarbonisation and levelling up".

Gavin Newlands, the SNP’s shadow transport secretary, criticised the move as the "latest in a long line of broken promises” from the Tories.

He called for a transport and decarbonisation approach that meets the needs of the whole country.

The Paisley and Renfrewshire MP said: “The scrapping of the Golborne Link is just the latest in a long line of broken Tory pledges made by the UK Government to Scotland.

“Scotland and the north of England were promised reduced journey times and faster speed by the UK Government as part of the HS2 project, but now these promises are in tatters.”

Newlands said HS2 could be a “good thing” for the economy and transport network across the UK but added that “every cut that’s been made to the project has been at the expense of the north of England and Scotland”.

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He continued: “Transport decarbonisation and modernisation needs to look at what will work best for every part of the country, not just the south east of England.

“Scotland’s potential has been limited by Westminster for too long.

“It’s increasingly clear that only independence can give Scotland the full powers over infrastructure which, in turn, will improve our transport system and help make the transition to net zero.”

HS2 minister Andrew Stephenson has said the UK Government will explore alternatives for how HS2 trains will reach Scotland.

The UK Government has been approached for comment.