JUST weeks after the Government confirmed that London Euston remained High Speed 2’s southern terminus (RAIL 976), Secretary of State for Transport Mark Harper delayed Euston’s arrival until “we have an affordable and deliverable station design”.
Harper didn’t give a revised timescale, but Rail Minister Huw Merriman told the House of Commons on March 14 that the change would mean “delivering Euston alongside the high-speed infrastructure to Manchester”. This could be as late as 2041, according to an update given by Harper last October.
In a written ministerial statement published on March 9, he also added two years to HS2’s delivery of its line from Birmingham to Crewe. This is the section that in 2015, the Government accelerated by six years, explaining that it was “a relatively straightforward section of line from an engineering point of view”.
It became known as Phase 2a to differentiate it from the rest of the line to Manchester (known as Phase 2b) and the eastern leg from Birmingham to Leeds, which the Government axed in 2021.
Harper wrote: “We have seen significant inflationary pressure and increased project costs, and so we will rephase construction by two years, with an aim to deliver high-speed services to Crewe and the North West as soon as possible after accounting for the delay in construction.”
Inflation has put pressure on Government’s annual budgets, but easing this pressure by cutting annual spending and drawing out the project’s delivery is likely to add overall cost.
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