Scotland - revised National Transport Strategy (NTS2) and STPR 2

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Altnabreac

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At a Transport Summit in Dumfries and Galloway the Deputy First Minister John Swinney and Transport Minister Humza Yousaf have announced a review of the National Transport Strategy (NTS) which will set out transport policy across Scotland for the next 20 years.

The review of the NTS will also inform an update to the Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR).

Transport Scotland said:
The National Transport Review is expected to deliver:

  • A strong, Scotland-wide demonstration of partnership working with stakeholders such as COSLA, Regional Transport Partnerships, transport operators, local authorities, businesses and the travelling publics.
  • The publication of a reference document (NTS2) with an updated vision and strategy endorsed and ‘owned’ by all.
  • An associated outcomes framework to focus delivery of that vision and strategy, setting out contributions needed from all partners across all sectors.
  • The articulation of a coherent transport narrative reflecting the Programme for Government and the principles of prosperity, fairness and participation; and with clearer alignment with SG National plans, Policies and Strategies, such as the National Planning Framework, Digital Strategy, RPP3, Infrastructure Investment and Community Planning.
  • The articulation of priorities for the revised Strategic Transport Projects Review (which would form part of the deliverables for NTS2).
  • Clarification and possible modification of existing roles and responsibilities, as between central and local government and service providers.
http://www.transport.gov.scot/news/groundbreaking-dumfries-galloway-transport-summit

The last Strategic Transport Projects Review was finalised in 2009 so a new one will be welcome. It contained 29 proposed Strategic Projects of which around 14 were related to Roads and 16 to Railways:
http://www.transport.gov.scot/report/j11260a-00.htm

7 — Reconfiguration of the National Rail Timetable
12 — Enhancing Rail System Capacity through Targeted Improvements
10 — Integrated Ticketing

6 — Further Electrification of the Strategic Rail Network
13 — Rail Enhancements in the East of Scotland
15 — Edinburgh - Glasgow (Rail) Improvements Programme
17 — Rail Enhancements on the Highland Main line between Perth and Inverness
19 — Rail Service Enhancements between Aberdeen and Inverness
20 — Grangemouth Road and Rail Access Upgrades
21 — Upgrade Edinburgh Haymarket Public Transport Interchange
23 — Rail Service Enhancements between Aberdeen and the Central Belt
24 — West of Scotland Strategic Rail Enhancements
25 — Light Rapid Transit connections between Fife and Edinburgh
26 — Rail Enhancements between Inverclyde / Ayrshire and Glasgow
27 — Enhancements to Rail Freight between Glasgow and the Border via West Coast Main Line
28 — Inverkeithing to Halbeath Rail Line

Of the rail schemes you'd probably say most have been at least partially progressed in that time. Perhaps only 21 - Haymarket Interchange can be judged 100% delivered at this point.

Two schemes that have made no progress are 28 — Inverkeithing to Halbeath Rail Line and 24 — West of Scotland Strategic Rail Enhancements.

Inverkeithing to Halbeath certainly made an appearance in the Network Rail Scotland Route Study and I'd expect it to remain in the revised STPR and progress more rapidly now. Will be interesting to see if Halbeath - Perth moves up the agenda this time. It was ruled out last time but has more support now than it did previously.

West of Scotland Strategic Rail Enhancements involves either light rail across Glasgow or a tunneled heavy rail option. I'm very interested to see what comes out of the STPR process under this option. I'd definitely like to see a push for a heavy rail tunnel under Glasgow higher up the agenda.

The scheme most likely to drop out of the STPR altogether is 25 — Light Rapid Transit connections between Fife and Edinburgh. The Queensferry Crossing makes no allowance for Trams and even the most enthusiastic tram advocate is no longer proposing cross Forth services.

The biggest scheme not mentioned in the last STPR is High Speed Rail. I'm sure it will make an entry into this STPR both in an Edinburgh - Glasgow format and as a cross border proposition.

What other rail schemes do people think will make the STPR2 cut?
 
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WatcherZero

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While it was an SNP election pledge to deliver high speed early they have now accepted its pointless to design it before the location and route of the English connection is decided as they dont know where the connection would be made. Could potentially result in needless expense or duplication to meet them up.
 

clc

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West of Scotland Strategic Rail Enhancements involves either light rail across Glasgow or a tunneled heavy rail option. I'm very interested to see what comes out of the STPR process under this option. I'd definitely like to see a push for a heavy rail tunnel under Glasgow higher up the agenda.

I was a bit disappointed there was no mention of the possibility of a tunnel in the Scotland Route Study among the options for addressing Glasgow's capacity problem.

What other rail schemes do people think will make the STPR2 cut?

Levenmouth seems like an obvious one.

It would be nice if a local Glasgow Crossrail scheme could be included.

And then there's Renfrew.
 

NotATrainspott

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The tram connection over the Forth would use the original road bridge. Jacobs produced various documents demonstrating that it would be feasible. I think it's not out of the question in the long term as the bulk of new jobs in Edinburgh will be in the west between the Airport and Edinburgh Park. Providing enough capacity for short-distance rail hops between south Fife and these areas will be a challenge for heavy rail, especially if the Inverkeithing-Halbeath line would increase the number of fast services over the bridge.

NR alone won't be able to justify the cost of a cross-City tunnel in Glasgow. There will always be a cheaper way to deliver the same capacity for rail services, such as rebuilding a third terminus at St Enoch.
 

Altnabreac

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While it was an SNP election pledge to deliver high speed early they have now accepted its pointless to design it before the location and route of the English connection is decided as they dont know where the connection would be made. Could potentially result in needless expense or duplication to meet them up.

Which is why it is a joint DfT and Transport Scotland group taking forward route corridor development of High Speed Rail currently.

The reason High Speed Rail didn't make the last STPR cut was that a pure E-G line doesn't generate a good enough BCR. It's always been clear that cross border benefits would be needed to make the Business Case.

And in turn that made engagement with DfT on route corridors necessary. Good that tjey are now fully engaged with the project and not dragging their feet.
 

WatcherZero

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They were doing the route corridor jointly before the election, SNP thought they could win some votes by pressing ahead and had the election pledge of not waiting for Westminster. Then after the election they dropped it again. Mind you they have always been weak on transport and the local authorities have to fight them for any improvements.
 

Altnabreac

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They were doing the route corridor jointly before the election, SNP thought they could win some votes by pressing ahead and had the election pledge of not waiting for Westminster. Then after the election they dropped it again. Mind you they have always been weak on transport and the local authorities have to fight them for any improvements.

If you insist. I'm not an SNP supporter but here are the quotes from their 2015 Westminster manifesto that mention High Speed Rail:

For a new northern focus – we’ll back budget plans to invest more in the infrastructure of Scotland and the north of England, including the commissioning of high speed rail linking Glasgow, Edinburgh and the north of England.

We will also seek adequate transport infrastructure investment, with a particular aim of improving transport and communication links across the north of these isles. That includes connecting Scotland to HS2 as a priority, with construction beginning in Scotland as well as England, and a high speed connection between Glasgow, Edinburgh and the north of England as part of any high-speed rail network

Alongside the development of High Speed Rail from London to the Midlands, we will seek a commitment to deliver High Speed Rail between Glasgow, Edinburgh and the north of England as the first stage of a link connecting Scotland and the north of England to London. High Speed Rail should be constructed both from the north down and from the south up.

All of them seem to suggest working on cross border route options to me. Can't see that any of them suggest pressing ahead without cross border co-operation.

And here is the current policy as set out on the Transport Scotland site:

The UK and Scottish Governments are pressing ahead with planning for high speed rail.

Following the 21 March 2016 announcements, a working group comprising the Department for Transport, Transport Scotland, HS2 Ltd and Network Rail was established to determine how best to progress the aims of the ministerial statements and identify options with the best business case for potential implementation from 2019 onwards. The Working Group is also in the process of engaging in conversations with targeted stakeholders in northern England and Scotland to gather their views on the options presented in HS2 Ltd’s Broad options report.
http://www.transport.gov.scot/project/high-speed-rail

Seems a fairly consistent position to me?
 

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I'm not noticing anything on the Lentran Long Loop - hope that changes. A new bit for 'improvements north of Inverness' would be welcomed, so hopefully the LLL, and the Kinbrace loop and timber extraction siding, will be down for that.
 

Altnabreac

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I'm not noticing anything on the Lentran Long Loop - hope that changes. A new bit for 'improvements north of Inverness' would be welcomed, so hopefully the LLL, and the Kinbrace loop and timber extraction siding, will be down for that.

Yes. The last STPR had nothing for north of Inverness really. Would be good to see that rectified in a new version.

The Scotland Route Study did have mentions for Lentran Loop as well as resignalling to Dingwall, another loop between Dingwall and Invergordon and a new Georgemas Chord. Doesn't appear to suggest reopening Kinbrace loop as required though.

I guess the additional proposed loop between Dingwall and Invergordon could be either at Alness or Evanton (along with reopening?) or possibly even a new dynamic loop in that area.
 

najaB

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I guess the additional proposed loop between Dingwall and Invergordon could be either at Alness or Evanton (along with reopening?) or possibly even a new dynamic loop in that area.
Evanton would be easiest as it's already a token exchange point.
 

Highland37

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How far north did the double track used to go?

Can't say I agree with the comment about about the the SNP weak on transport. The A9 is being dualled, the Inverness-Aberdeen line upgraded, EGIP, new fleet for some parts of the network, Inverness west link and so on. There is a lot happening with regards to transport. Some I like and some less so but lots is happening.
 

EMU303

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How far north did the double track used to go?

Can't say I agree with the comment about about the the SNP weak on transport. The A9 is being dualled, the Inverness-Aberdeen line upgraded, EGIP, new fleet for some parts of the network, Inverness west link and so on. There is a lot happening with regards to transport. Some I like and some less so but lots is happening.

Indeed... plus M8, M73, M74 upgrade which includes plugging the famous long standing M8 gap and Raith Interchange underpass, plus Borders Rail, Glasgow Subway modernisation, Forth Bridge replacement... not exactly "weak".... and a hefty bill.
 

Railsigns

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Indeed... plus M8, M73, M74 upgrade which includes plugging the famous long standing M8 gap and Raith Interchange underpass, plus Borders Rail, Glasgow Subway modernisation, Forth Bridge replacement... not exactly "weak".... and a hefty bill.

They inherited Borders Rail from the previous Lib/Lab administration.
 

clc

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Indeed... plus M8, M73, M74 upgrade which includes plugging the famous long standing M8 gap and Raith Interchange underpass, plus Borders Rail, Glasgow Subway modernisation, Forth Bridge replacement... not exactly "weak".... and a hefty bill.

Also M74 Completion and Aberdeen Western Peripheral route, two schemes which had been continually delayed for decades.
 

Millisle

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How far north did the double track used to go?

Can't say I agree with the comment about about the the SNP weak on transport. The A9 is being dualled, the Inverness-Aberdeen line upgraded, EGIP, new fleet for some parts of the network, Inverness west link and so on. There is a lot happening with regards to transport. Some I like and some less so but lots is happening.

Clachnaharry to Clunes, about six miles, 1913/14 - 1966. Lentran was retained as a crossing until RETB in 1988.
 

Northhighland

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How far north did the double track used to go?

Can't say I agree with the comment about about the the SNP weak on transport. The A9 is being dualled, the Inverness-Aberdeen line upgraded, EGIP, new fleet for some parts of the network, Inverness west link and so on. There is a lot happening with regards to transport. Some I like and some less so but lots is happening.

Thing about SNP transport policy as far as the Highlands goes is it is all jam tomorrow. The dualling of the A9 will not be complete until at least 2025, the rail improvements will see some limited benefits by 2019, by that time we will have had more than 10 years of SNP government. Hardly dynamic performance.

The A96 will still have no bypass for Nairn, Elgin and Keith, it will still take 2.5 hours to drive the 110 miles from Inverness to Aberdeen, the same time as it took in the 1970's.

If you go north of Inverness there will have been one road improvement scheme on the A9, at Helmsdale. The much needed improvement on the Berridale Braes still has no date agreed. Meaning Caithness will be regularly cut off as lorries will continue to jack knife on the hairpin, meaning 2 hours of misery or an 80 mile diversion every time. The far north rail line will still remain at around 4 hours when the road time is 2.5 hours.

Go west of Inverness to Fort William, the A82 still remains as slow as it did in the 1970's. A few minor road realignment projects but in the summer months this is still a 1.5 hour journey for the 60 or so miles.

So forgive my cynicism but their performance in the Highlands is woeful, especially compared with he improvements in the central belt. But with the most gullible electorate in europe you get the government you vote for.
 
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Altnabreac

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Thing about SNP transport policy as far as the Highlands goes is it is all jam tomorrow. The dualling of the A9 will not be complete until at least 2025, the rail improvements will see some limited benefits by 2019, by that time we will have had more than 10 years of SNP government. Hardly dynamic performance.

The A96 will still have no bypass for Nairn, Elgin and Keith, it will still take 2.5 hours to drive the 110 miles from Inverness to Aberdeen, the same time as it took in the 1970's.

If you go north of Inverness there will have been one road improvement scheme on the A9, at Helmsdale. The much needed improvement on the Berridale Braes still has no date agreed. Meaning Caithness will be regularly cut off as lorries will continue to jack knife on the hairpin, meaning 2 hours of misery or an 80 mile diversion every time. The far north rail line will still remain at around 4 hours when the road time is 2.5 hours.

Go west of Inverness to Fort William, the A82 still remains as slow as it did in the 1970's. A few minor road realignment projects but in the summer months this is still a 1.5 hour journey for the 60 or so miles.

So forgive my cynicism but their performance in the Highlands is woeful, especially compared with he improvements in the central belt. But with the most gullible electorate in europe you get the government you vote for.

This is all getting off topic to be honest but I think all post devolution governments in Scotland have had a good record of investing in Infrastructure.

I think it's daft to criticise politicians for investing in long term projects like HS2 and A9 dualling which inevitably involve long periods of design and preparation to agree route corridors, ground investigations, consultations, environmental mitigation and public enquiries.

That's why the projects that have opened under the SNP (M74, EGIP, M80, Borders Rail, Airdrie Bathgate etc) were mainly planned and designed under the previous Labour-Liberal administrations.

Equally the projects being designed now (A9, A96, High Speed Rail etc) will end up being delivered by the Governments who are in power in Holyrood in 2021 or 2026. This may well not be the SNP.

Telling politicians you only give them credit for schemes designed and delivered in a single political administration is a sure fire way of ending up with only patch and mend minor investment with big strategic projects being ignored.

In terms of the schems you mention above the first section of the A9 dualling is now under construction at Kincraig, Nairn Bypass has detailed design work completed and ground investigations are under way, Berriedale Braes is awaiting the outcome of a Planning Enquiry, the A82 has just seen Crianlarich Bypass and Pulpit Rock open and the Tarbet - Inverarnan scheme has had it's preferred route (DMRB Stage 2) design completed and is currently undergoing detailed design.

On railways Aberdeen - Inverness work is underway with more double track than expected and major investment in reducing journey times and an hourly service, while Montrose - Usan doubling has been committed as a Scottish Government extra infrastructure investment alongside the main Aberdeen City Deal.

I have to say if there is one North of Scotland scheme I am currently a little disappointed by progress it is the Highland Mainline Upgrade. Progress has been slow and the details of what work will be done are very vague currently. Culloden redoubling seems to have been ruled out and it's unclear how Network Rail plan to achieve journey time reductions and frequency increases now. However I'll wait and see what Network Rail produce design wise before complaining too much.
 

Highland37

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I would agree with the above and consider the SNP has been pretty good on this. Another thing to add in is RET on the ferries which has been an incredible boost to the Highlands and Islands. It doesn't apply to Northlink though.

They have only been in majority from 2011 to 2016 so considering what has been done it's pretty good. Certainly a lot more than their predecessors.

I was looking at rail tunnels in various places the other day, mainly for roads and connected with the Stromeferry bypass. Apparently it would cost £56,970 per metre for a road tunnel. A lot less than I thought and it makes me wonder why we struggle on with the out of date infrastructure we have.

The Kyle, North and WHL are out of date sidings relative to railways in the continent of Europe.
 

deltic08

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NR alone won't be able to justify the cost of a cross-City tunnel in Glasgow. There will always be a cheaper way to deliver the same capacity for rail services, such as rebuilding a third terminus at St Enoch.

With a dedicated over or underground link to Central Station.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
If you insist. I'm not an SNP supporter but here are the quotes from their 2015 Westminster manifesto that mention High Speed Rail:

All of them seem to suggest working on cross border route options to me. Can't see that any of them suggest pressing ahead without cross border co-operation.

And here is the current policy as set out on the Transport Scotland site:

http://www.transport.gov.scot/project/high-speed-rail

Seems a fairly consistent position to me?

A deficit of £15 billion will change all of this and the timescale.
 

cb a1

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I was a bit disappointed there was no mention of the possibility of a tunnel in the Scotland Route Study among the options for addressing Glasgow's capacity problem.
It's my understanding that the Route Study was confined to existing infrastructure?
 

Altnabreac

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It's my understanding that the Route Study was confined to existing infrastructure?

Sort of but it did include the Inverkeithing - Halbeath new line as an option for funders as well as schemes like Dalmeny Chord, Georgemas Chord, 4 tracking at Prestonpans, Greenhill junction grade separation and Glasgow Central Station expansion that would all be outside the current envelope of railway owned land.

So it certainly allowed new schemes that involved land purchase, new lines and required TWA orders.

I think it is more that there was a cut off at scheme cost around £500m or so acknowledging that any more ambitious schemes than that essentially need to be progressed as National Infrastructure priorities through the STPR process.
 

47271

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Thing about SNP transport policy as far as the Highlands goes is it is all jam tomorrow. The dualling of the A9 will not be complete until at least 2025, the rail improvements will see some limited benefits by 2019, by that time we will have had more than 10 years of SNP government. Hardly dynamic performance.

The A96 will still have no bypass for Nairn, Elgin and Keith, it will still take 2.5 hours to drive the 110 miles from Inverness to Aberdeen, the same time as it took in the 1970's.

If you go north of Inverness there will have been one road improvement scheme on the A9, at Helmsdale. The much needed improvement on the Berridale Braes still has no date agreed. Meaning Caithness will be regularly cut off as lorries will continue to jack knife on the hairpin, meaning 2 hours of misery or an 80 mile diversion every time. The far north rail line will still remain at around 4 hours when the road time is 2.5 hours.

Go west of Inverness to Fort William, the A82 still remains as slow as it did in the 1970's. A few minor road realignment projects but in the summer months this is still a 1.5 hour journey for the 60 or so miles.

So forgive my cynicism but their performance in the Highlands is woeful, especially compared with he improvements in the central belt. But with the most gullible electorate in europe you get the government you vote for.
I think that we've seen this complaint on Scottish infrastructure threads before.

Let's suppose you were in charge of a Scottish government newly elected ten years ago. How would you have gone about delivering the Highland transport schemes in progress any more quickly?
 

Altnabreac

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A deficit of £15 billion will change all of this and the timescale.

Not sure if you're aware but there was a referendum in 2014 where we voted to remain in the UK. Thus the current funding envelope is defined by Barnett Formula and any GERS deficit is irrelevant.

Now SNP supporters who are in favour of another independence referendum might be needing to work out where that deficit would come from. But without another referendum the current spending plans are fully protected as part of the Scotland Act 2016 negotiations.
 

backontrack

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Yes. The last STPR had nothing for north of Inverness really. Would be good to see that rectified in a new version.

The Scotland Route Study did have mentions for Lentran Loop as well as resignalling to Dingwall, another loop between Dingwall and Invergordon and a new Georgemas Chord. Doesn't appear to suggest reopening Kinbrace loop as required though.

I guess the additional proposed loop between Dingwall and Invergordon could be either at Alness or Evanton (along with reopening?) or possibly even a new dynamic loop in that area.

The resignalling and LLL could and should probably be done together.

The proposition of a new loop between Dingwall and Invergordon is new, but makes sense, particularly if it co-incided with a new stop at Evanton.
 

clc

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NR alone won't be able to justify the cost of a cross-City tunnel in Glasgow. There will always be a cheaper way to deliver the same capacity for rail services, such as rebuilding a third terminus at St Enoch.
With a dedicated over or underground link to Central Station.

There was an interesting section in Transport Scotland's Glasgow Airport Tram-Train Feasibility Study:

...there is an opportunity to divert some or most of the trains currently using the Muirhouse corridor into Glasgow Central station (Kilmarnock, Barrhead, East Kilbride, South Glasgow electric services) via a new link (the Strathbungo link) into the potential St Enochs/Argyle Street station

I interpret that to mean a new terminus would be linked to Argyle St station for interchange with the Argyle line meaning it would have connections in every direction.
 
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NotATrainspott

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A deficit of £15 billion will change all of this and the timescale.

Possibly not in the direction you're thinking of. The only sustainable way for a country to quickly cut its deficit is to do pretty drastic shifts of government expenditure to schemes which have a high economic return. If you just cut billions across the board you would cause an economic downturn that would cut your revenue by a similar amount. Keeping total spending approximately the same prevents that, and if all that spending is on useful things like infrastructure you end up with assets which drive sustainable long-term economic growth in the future as well as the normal Keynesian effects during construction.
 

Highland37

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Possibly not in the direction you're thinking of. The only sustainable way for a country to quickly cut its deficit is to do pretty drastic shifts of government expenditure to schemes which have a high economic return. If you just cut billions across the board you would cause an economic downturn that would cut your revenue by a similar amount. Keeping total spending approximately the same prevents that, and if all that spending is on useful things like infrastructure you end up with assets which drive sustainable long-term economic growth in the future as well as the normal Keynesian effects during construction.

I suppose the question many would ask, is why stay with a system where you don't have control of how much you spend or of any economic policies and where you are running a large deficit?

There is the small issue of things like the funding of HS2 etc into this and attribution of income and expenditure plus debt. Where does the debt of Network Rail sit within all this for example.

At least our place in the EU is certain.
 
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