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HS2 – the UK’s £60billion flagship high speed rail project linking the capital to the Midlands and the North – might not even reach central London because of soaring costs. Plans for the high-speed rail scheme to run into the centre of the capital may be scrapped because of soaring inflation, according to The Sun. Instead, trains would stop at a new hub at Old Oak Common in the suburbs of west London. Commuters would have to use the recently-opened Elizabeth Line to finish their journeys into the city. 

Bosses for the project are also reportedly considering pushing back its Euston terminus to 2038.

HS2 is currently due to be completed between 2029 and 2033, but a delay of between two and five years to the entire project is now reportedly being considered.

The projects website still includes plans for trains to travel into Euston and states the new station will feature ten platforms measuring 450m each. It also says the huge transport hub will be used by up to 17 high-speed trains per hour at “peak operation”.

One ex-HS2 employee told The Sun: “There are a number of options for getting the costs down and none of them are very nice. Either you scrap Euston, or you have to slow down the whole project and hope inflation comes down.”

When asked about HS2 not reaching Central London, a spokesperson for the Department for Transport would only say: “The Government remains committed to delivering HS2 to Manchester, as confirmed in the Autumn Statement.

“As well as supporting tens of thousands of jobs, the project will connect regions across the UK, improve capacity on our railways and provide a greener option of travel.”

The latest comments come after the Department for Transport recently warned of “tough decisions” for the scheme in the coming weeks.

A recent report by the Policy Exchange think-tank claimed scrapping all sections of HS2 where main construction has not started around £3billion a year by 2027/8, and £44billion or more in total.

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The report’s author Andrew ­Gilligan, a former Downing Street transport advisor, wrote: “HS2 now costs more to build than the value of the benefits it will deliver.

“The official benefit cost ratio shows that for every £1 spent on the scheme, the country gets back benefits worth only 90p. Shortening the scheme improves its value for money.”

Earlier this month, Permanent Secretary of the Department of Transport Bernadette Kelly said a decision on HS2 costs would be taken “over the coming weeks”.

She told MPs attending the Transport Committee: “It is likely there will be some quite tough decisions that need to be taken then, including around the phasing and delivery of all our capital programmes, including HS2.”

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Rail Minister Huw Merriman also said cuts were coming to train projects across the network, warning of “far too many projects for the funding envelope”.

He added: “There will be projects that colleagues may have been told would be going ahead but which actually have not been proceeded with and will not go ahead. My job is going to have to be to give the bad news.”

Penny Gaines, from the campaign group Stop HS2, said it is “not at all surprising” that costs are soaring for the project.

She added: “These reports just show that there are so many problems with HS2. It’s being delayed further and further so the cost is going up, it should be cancelled in its entirety as soon as possible.

“Stop spending money building a railway people don’t need. Use the money to restore the countryside and the areas that are being devastated by HS2 and look at the solutions that people need in the 21st century.

“It’s London-centric and now it turns out that it’s not even going to manage to get to the centre of London.”

In October 2021, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove suggested capital investment for HS2 would be reviewed but Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has subsequently backed the project.

In 2015, a budget of £55.7bn for the whole of HS2 was set aside. At 2019 prices, the target cost of Phase 1 between London and Birmingham was £40.3billion.




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#HS2 #sham #60bn #high #speed #rail #scheme #hit #central #London

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