HS2 ‘may not reach central London until 2041’

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Vuk Valcic/ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock (13803017f) A worker at the HS2 construction site near Euston Station. Parts of the controversial HS2 (High Speed ​​2) railway project are being postponed as cost estimates have risen to between €70 billion and €100 billion. HS2 delayed due to rising costs, London, England, UK - 09 March 2023

The construction site near Euston Station, which may have to wait until 2041 to be connected to HS2 (Image: Shutterstock)

Labor says it may take up to 2041 for HS2 to last in central London.

Shadow Transport secretary Louise Haigh told MPs she made the discovery in a leaked document that “dismantled” claims about the government’s backlash last week.

She said the memo shows senior officials “suggesting” the train could end on the outskirts of the capital by 2041, meaning it would stop at Old Oak Common in west London for much longer than planned.

Passengers would have to change to the Elizabeth line to get to Euston in central London.

The government last Thursday announced a two-year delay in the construction of the Birmingham to Crewe line.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper blamed “significant inflationary pressures and increased project costs.”

But Ms Haigh claims the leaked document she saw proves the delays would cost even more.

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The proposed HS2 route in three phases (Image: HS2 / Metro.co.uk)

Undated CGI handout issued by HS2 of the interior of HS2 Euston Station looking south. The picture emphasizes the design of the roof and shows unimpeded access through the ground-level station hall. Issue date: Tuesday March 8, 2022. PA Photo. Andrew Stephenson, HS2 Minister, announced in October last year that the number of HS2 platforms in Euston would be reduced from 11 to 10 to follow recommendations from the government-commissioned Oakervee Review to save money and to improve efficiency. See PA story RAIL HS2. Photo credit should read: HS2/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may be used for editorial reporting purposes only to simultaneously illustrate events, things or people in the photo or facts mentioned in the photo caption. Reuse of the image may require further permission from the copyright owner.

CGI released by HS2 of the interior design of HS2 Euston Station (Image: PA)

She said: “The Secretary of State’s main justification was to balance the nation’s books, but here his own department is admitting what he doesn’t want, which is that the delays themselves will increase costs.

“They admit that it will cost jobs, that construction companies could go bankrupt. They cannot completely rule out high-speed trains serving Stoke, Macclesfield and Stafford being cut.

“Isn’t it about time the minister came in? This absurd plan will destroy jobs, hamper growth and cost taxpayers even more.

‘Even the government has lost confidence in this government, and no wonder. Is there anything more emblematic of this failed government than their flagship leveling project that fails to make it to north or central London?’

Transport Minister Huw Merriman replied: “Obviously we do not comment on leaked documents, let alone documents that I have not received at all.

Billboards surround the construction site as work continues on HS2 Central Station at Curzon Street on January 25, 2023 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. The Curzon Street Master Plan includes a 141 hectare redevelopment area centered on the HS2 Curzon Street railway station in Birmingham city centre, combined with around £700 million in investments in the surrounding area, including new residential and commercial developments. High Speed ​​2 is a partially planned high speed railway in the United Kingdom, the first phase of which is in the early stages of construction, the second phase is awaiting full approval and the third phase is to be merged with Northern Powerhouse Rail, a separate project. (Photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)

The Birmingham to Crewe route was delayed by two years last week (Picture: Getty)

“I’m very proud of what we’re doing when it comes to delivering HS2. The construction of Curzon Street railway station in Birmingham, which remains in place, is expected to create 36,000 new jobs.

“In Manchester, to the point that it will not rise nationally, the redevelopment of Piccadilly Station is expected to create 13,000 new homes.

“In London, the redevelopment of Old Oak Common will contribute around £15billion over the next 30 years. These are numbers we can be proud of and we will deliver.”

Elsewhere, the minister was asked to reveal whether there would be any further delays on the project, with the Conservative Chair of the Commons Transport Committee asking: “Can we be sure this is the final delay on the project?”

Mr Merriman replied: “Although the pandemic and Putin’s illegal invasion… were not foreseen, we expect these HS2 plans to be the plans they are delivering from London to Manchester.”

Possible travel times

Travel times are drastically reduced when passing HS2:

  • Birmingham to London: Currently one hour and 21 minutes reduced to 49 minutes
  • Birmingham to Manchester: Currently one hour and 28 minutes reduced to 41 minutes
  • Manchester to London: Currently two hours and seven minutes, reduced to one hour and 11 minutes

Last October, Mr Harper said the forecast for the completion of HS2 remains within planned ranges.

These included Phase One – linking London to Birmingham – which opened between 2029 and 2033.

Phase 2a, which ran from Birmingham to Crewe, was reportedly “on track” at the time to be completed between 2030 and 2034.

Meanwhile, the expected completion date for Phase 2b, which would then link Crewe to Manchester, could be between 2035 and 2041.

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https://metro.co.uk/2023/03/14/hs2-may-not-reach-central-london-until-2041-18441897/ HS2 'may not reach central London until 2041'

Justin Scacco

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