HS2 to cost an extra £22 billion - and not reach Birmingham until 2028

3 September 2019, 13:47 | Updated: 3 September 2019, 13:53

HS2 train

The £55.7 billion is thought to be 'unrealistic' for the high speed rail line, according to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

In a written statement to Parliament, he said: "Colleagues will see that the chairman of HS2 does not believe that the current scheme design can be delivered within the budget of £55.7 billion, set in 2015 prices.

"Instead he estimates that the current scheme requires a total budget - including contingency - in the range of £72 to £78 billion, again in 2015 prices.

"Regarding schedule, the chairman does not believe the current schedule of 2026 for initial services on Phase One is realistic.

"In line with lessons from other major transport infrastructure projects, his advice proposes a range of dates for the start of service.

"He recommends 2028 to 2031 for Phase One - with a staged opening, starting with initial services between London Old Oak Common and Birmingham Curzon Street, followed by services to and from London Euston later.

"He expects Phase 2b, the full high-speed line to Manchester and Leeds, to open between 2035 and 2040."

A spokesman for HS2 Ltd said: "The report by our chairman Allan Cook is an assessment of the current status of the HS2 programme.

"It examines the comprehensive and far-reaching benefits of HS2 for the country, which are more significant than those previously taken into account.

"It also examines the challenges facing the project. It sets out a rigorous cost and schedule range for delivery of the programme under its current scope.

"The assessment makes clear that HS2 remains a compelling strategic answer for Britain's future transport needs, relieving overcrowding and congestion on our roads and railways, and reducing the carbon footprint of the UK.

"It will drive economic growth and regeneration in our regions, and bring Britain closer together.

"The assessment of Phase One is based on the significant work carried out so far, which has given us detailed insight into the scale and complexity of the programme. The assessment of Phase 2b takes into account lessons learnt on Phase One."