Scotland will benefit from a new high-speed rail line which will create business opportunities, jobs and skills, according to UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.

HS2, the UK Government said, will give an economic boost to Scotland after the decision to award £6.6 billion of contracts to build phase one of the line was announced.

Mr Grayling said in addition to speeding up journey times, HS2 will support 16,000 jobs across the UK, with more than 100 Scottish businesses interested in the opportunities it will create.

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The first phase between London Euston and Birmingham promises faster journeys onward to Glasgow of under four hours.

An expansion of the network to Crewe in 2027 will see journeys between Glasgow and London reduced by 45 minutes. By 2033, journeys between London and Glasgow and Edinburgh will be cut to around three hours and 40 minutes.

HeraldScotland:
The Birmingham and Fazeley viaduct, part of the proposed route for the HS2 high speed rail scheme (Credit: HS2/PA Wire)

Mr Grayling said: "Britain's new railway line will bring huge economic benefits to Scotland and help ensure this Government delivers on its promise to spread wealth beyond London and the South East.

"But as well as creating skilled jobs, apprenticeships and business opportunities, it will also mean real day-to-day improvements for passengers.

"I am delighted that my announcements today will unlock the full benefits of HS2 to Scotland and the north of England."

The UK and Scottish governments have been working closely with Network Rail and HS2 Ltd to ensure passengers in Scotland benefit from faster and more frequent trains.

UK Government minister Lord Duncan said: "The confirmation of these new routes is fantastic news. HS2 will mean faster journeys for passengers travelling to and from Edinburgh, Glasgow and further afield - and it is a real opportunity for the highly-skilled Scottish companies who will be bidding for contracts on this project.

"High speed rail will also open up opportunities for Scottish businesses that export goods and services to England and Wales as they reach their markets faster than ever before.

"This is a landmark step in delivering HS2 - and it is good news for Scotland."