Latest Rail News

21.08.19

Government announces HS2 review, 'go or no-go' decision by year-end

The government is set to launch a review into the HS2 project, transport secretary Grant Shapps has announced.

The review into the high-speed rail link will conclude a “go or no-go” decision by the end of the year, confirming, reworking or cancelling whether and how the project will go ahead. Mr Shapps has refused to rule out scrapping the project entirely.

Costs and benefits of the route, connecting London, the Midlands and northern England will be looked at in the review.

Mr Shapps said the government was “responsible” for seeing if HS2 was “going to stack up”.

Under its current plan, the first segment of HS2 between London and Birmingham is due to open at the end of 2026, with the second phase of the development to Leeds and Manchester scheduled for completion by 2032-33.

An estimated £7bn has already been spent on the project. However, Mr Shapps was clear in stating that, just because investment had already been made in the project, a review was the sensible approach rather than “ploughing more and more money into it”.

The review is set to be chaired by Douglas Oakervee, a civil engineer who served as chairman of the Crossrail project between 2005 and 2009. Another civil engineer, Lord Berkeley, who also worked on the construction of the Channel Tunnel, will act as his deputy.

A final report is expected to be sent to the government in autumn.

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