The Government will not confirm whether HS2 will reach central London


It’s been reported that HS2 may not head to Euston until 2038, or the central London end will be scrapped entirely (Image: HS2)

The Government declined to confirm whether it has scrapped HS2’s central London terminus at Euston.

It was hinted last night that rising inflation has significantly altered plans for the Midlands and North high-speed rail project.

The Sun reported that HS2 may not reach Euston until 2038, or the central London end will be scrapped entirely and the line will end at Old Oak Common in west London instead.

However, a Department for Transport spokesman declined to confirm, saying: “The Government remains committed to delivering HS2 to Manchester, as confirmed in the Autumn statement.

“Not only will the project support tens of thousands of jobs, but it will also connect regions across the UK, improve the capacity of our railways and provide a greener way to travel.”

When HS2 ends in west London, commuters would be forced to complete their journeys to the center of the capital on the Elizabeth Line.

It was also suggested that the entire project could be delayed by two or five years.

Henri Murison, chief executive of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said the government should prioritize a central terminus for the railway line.

The 2,000 tonne tunnel boring machine (TBM) was named'Dorothy' after it completed its 1.6km excavation under Long Itchington Wood in Warwickshire for the HS2 project. The huge 125 m long TBM, which began its journey in December 2021 at the north portal of the tunnel, broke through the wall of the receiving box at the site of the south portal on Friday 22 July. Picture date: Tuesday July 26, 2022. PA Photo. The machine is named after Dorothy Hodgkin, who became the first British woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1964. See PA story RAIL HS2. Photo credit should read: Jacob King/PA Wire

The 2,000 tonne HS2 tunnel boring machine, dubbed ‘Dorothy’, was pictured after completing its 1 mile dig beneath Long Itchington Wood in Warwickshire in December 2021 (Image: PA)

HS2 billboards in Birmingham

Billboards surround the site as work continues on the HS2 mainline station on Curzon Street in Birmingham (Image: In Pictures via Getty Images)

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think Manchester will still get its line, but my argument would be I care about what’s right for the whole of Britain.

“And indeed, even for the north of England, not going to Euston has a number of significant disadvantages.

“Because actually people in the north of England, people in Birmingham want access to central London – that’s what they currently have over the normal long-distance network.

“And so for conventional services we have access right into central London, just as Piccadilly station is right into central Manchester.

“These stations have to be centrally located.”

A computer generated image of London's Euston Station.

A computer-generated image of what London’s Euston railway station is expected to look like once HS2 is complete (Image: HS2)

What is HS2?

HS2 has been billed to connect half of the UK population – around 30 million people – with state-of-the-art high-speed trains.

In 2015, it was originally planned to serve 25 stations.

The project was divided into three phases. The first phase between London and Birmingham was originally due to be completed by 2026 but has been pushed back to 2029–2033.

The second phase between Birmingham and Manchester and the third phase after Leeds should both be completed by 2033. But the second phase is now scheduled between 2035 and 2040, and the third phase has been cut short entirely.

The new trains would reach speeds of 400 km/h and drastically reduce journey times between London and the North.

The trains would each have up to 1,100 seats and would be up to 400 meters long.

The Department for Transport said the project would triple the capacity of trains across the route.

But Labor colleague Lord Berkeley, who was deputy chair of a government-mandated review of HS2 in 2019, called for the entire project to be scrapped.

“The alternative in the news this morning is to use Old Oak Common as the terminus, which with a little reconfiguration would work for half the number of trains desired, but it wouldn’t do much,” he said.

“There’s not enough space for that, so they couldn’t do it, except maybe with a shuttle service from Birmingham.

“What’s the point of building HS2 just to get to Birmingham?

“I think the whole thing should be canceled.”

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Maureen McLean/Shutterstock (13729353w) The HS2 High Speed ​​Rail 2 Colne Valley Viaduct under construction. The bridge now crosses the A412 London Oribtal Road in Denham and a 500 meter milestone was completed this week. Dubbed the launch girder, Dominque, a giant, 160m long, 700 tonne orange bridge construction machine, pulls precast concrete deck segments onto 56 pier segments in place. When completed, the Colne Valley Viaduct will be the longest railway bridge in Britain. Environmentalists continue to campaign against the HS2 Colne Valley Viaduct Construction project, Denham, Uxbridge, Buckinghamshire, UK - 21st January 2023

The HS2 Colne Valley Viaduct under construction (Image: Shutterstock)

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

He claimed the money was “much better spent improving the railway lines north, east and west than going to London a little quicker”.

The HS2 project has come under heavy criticism after repeated delays, environmental issues and rising costs.

In 2015 a budget of £55.7bn was set for the entire HS2, but in 2019 the target cost of the first phase was already £40.3bn.

The east leg to Leeds was scrapped at the end of 2021, and some accused then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson of “betraying the North”.

Leveling Up secretary Michael Gove proposed looking into the investment for HS2 late last year, but Chancellor Jeremy Hunt backed the project.

The project’s bosses also admitted last year that HS2 will be “many billions” over budget.

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Justin Scacco

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