The following article was published on page 2 of the Times, as well as the online newspaper on Monday 4th September 2023. Today (14th September) further articles were published in the Independent and Express regarding the potential cancellation of HS2 Phase 2.
The Times article is based on extensive research sourced from Department for Transport (DfT), HS2 and Network Rail documentation. This includes the DfT report entitled ‘HS2 Phase 2b Western Leg: Crewe to Manchester An Update on the Strategic Outline Business Case’. Despite being over a year and a half old, this report represents the latest business case for the project and incorporates HS2 Ltd’s own proposals for future train service schedules, which have been compared to publicly available Avanti West Coast timetables. The quote in the Times attributed to a ‘source close to HS2’, that the article is based on false assumptions is therefore not credible. Neither is it reasonable to describe reference to HS2 Ltd’s own proposals as “premature”, fourteen years since the start of the HS2 project. HS2 Ltd has had every opportunity to devise its proposals to best meet the objectives for the project set by the Government, but has failed to do so.
The reported discussions between the PM and the Chancellor about the cancellation of HS2 Phase 2 are both welcomed and necessary, especially given that it will reduce capacity at Crewe and worsen rail services across the North. With budget savings of well over £30 billion to be gained immediately, these monies could be invested in far better targeted alternative transport projects as well as more important and essential Government infrastructure projects.