The cost of the HS2 project could be as much as £22 billion more than originally planned.
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, has released these details in a written statement to Parliament and in documents that have been placed in the libraries of both houses of Parliament.
Costs associated with the HS2 project have been outlined by the recently appointed Chairman of HS2 Ltd, Allan Cook, who has provided advice to the Transport Secretary.
Figures show that Mr Cook doesn’t think the HS2 project can be delivered within the original budget, set in 2015 prices.
Previously, estimations said that HS2 – the government’s largest project – would cost just shy of £56 billion.
However, the Chairman of HS2 Ltd now estimates the scheme requires a total budget in the range of £72 billion to £78 billion, including contingency costs.
In today’s prices, the costs are even higher; if prices are adjusted by construction cost inflation, the price of HS2 is the equivalent of £81 billion to £88 billion, against a budget equivalent to just more than £62 billion.
Not only are changes to the costs expected, but the schedule is set to do so too.
HS2 Ltd’s Chairman “does not believe the current schedule of 2026 for initial services on Phase 1 is realistic.”
Instead, he has recommended a staged opening of Phase 1, between 2028 to 2031, starting with services between London Old Oak Common and Birmingham Curzon Street, followed by services to and from London Euston to open later.
For Phase 2b, which would connect Manchester to Leeds, this would open between 2035 and 2040.
Phase 2a meanwhile is expected to be delivered to the timetable of Phase 1.
Northern leaders have made it crystal clear that the high speed rail line is vital to rebalance the economy and to give the region the transport infrastructure required.
Connecting Britain has been launched to reiterate this; more information regarding the viability of HS2 will be available in the independent review, set to be released in the autumn.