HS2

12.11.19

Leaked HS2 review draft recommends staying on track with the project

According to an early draft of the HS2 review seen by The Times newspaper, report author Doug Oakervee is set to recommend ministers proceed with the full Y-shaped line as currently planned, with only relatively minor revisions to the planned route.

Despite concerns among critics of spiralling costs, the leaked documents suggest that the route, which will connect London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, will be completed in full.

Some of the minor changes suggested include reducing the number of trains from a maximum of 18 per hour in each direction to 14, as well as retaining the main London terminus at Euston. This raises the potential for further stations to be added at a later stage, which had previously been mooted in areas such as Buckinghamshire.

According to the report, cancellation of HS2 could cause delays of another decade for viable alternative rail schemes to be developed in its place.

The leaked report has also suggested that some of the major civil engineering contracts awarded should be potentially re-tendered, urging HS2 Ltd to “consider re-procuring” these contracts in order to get best value possible.

The release of the leaked early draft comes at a crucial time politically too, in the lead up to the general election campaign, and in the opinion of The Times the leadking of the Oakervee report will put pressure on Boris Johnson to commit himself definitively one way or another to the project. It will be of pressing concern for the current Prime Minister, who is defending a slim majority in his Uxbridge seat, with HS2 a high-profile issue in the constituency.

More to follow…

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