Knives out for HS2

Further cuts threatened

The Government is reviewing options to further cut the scope of High Speed 2 amid concerns about costs, while Modern Railways also understands the project is running behind schedule.

On 27 January Chancellor Jeremy Hunt moved quickly to rebuff media reports that the section from Old Oak Common to Euston would be cut from the project, telling the BBC he did not see ‘any conceivable circumstances’ in which the section to Euston would not go ahead. However, Modern Railways understands this section is unlikely to be open until the late 2030s, some way behind the initial Old Oak Common to Birmingham Curzon Street route and later than Phase 2a from the West Midlands to Crewe.

Subsequent media reports referenced reviews of the project under the codenames ‘Project Silverlight’ and ‘Operation Blue Diamond’. It is understood cutting Euston from the scope was just one of a number of options tabled as part of these reviews; others included cutting the Handsacre link from HS2 to the West Coast main line at the north end of the Phase One route, and not building the eastern leg to East Midlands Parkway. The latter element already represented a significant cut from the original plan to build a full eastern leg via a hub at Toton and through South Yorkshire to Leeds.


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