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HS2 may no longer be ‘a priority’ after Brexit, says Lord Berkeley

The vote for the UK to leave the European Union may mean that the future of HS2 is in doubt, Lord Berkeley has said.

Thursday’s vote has created political and economy uncertainty, with David Cameron resigning as prime minister, as reported in RTM’s sister title PSE, and the pound has sunk to $1.3152 against the US dollar, the lowest since 1985.

Chancellor George Osborne indicated today that he will not announce an emergency ‘punishment budget’ but will deal with the consequences of the vote in autumn’s budget.

Lord Berkeley, chair of the Rail Freight Group and a member of RTM’s editorial board, told the Financial Times: “The priority for the government at this time will not be big sexy projects such as HS2.”

Campaigners for HSUK, an alternative high speed rail route to HS2, said the referendum result strengthened the case against the project.

In a statement, the group said: “While the financial markets and the UK at large continue to digest Friday’s shock result in the EU referendum, one thing is patently clear; now is not the time for the government to press on with an ill-conceived and economically flawed infrastructure project that could end up costing over £75 billion.”

HS2 is already subject to review to bring the project back under budget.

However, on Friday, representatives of major companies, including Alstom and AECOM, said HS2 and other major rail projects remain ‘vitally important’ to the success of the UK.

(Image c. HS2)

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Lutz   27/06/2016 at 20:56

There are advantages to proceeding with HS2 in terms of a boost the economy from the construction work, but it should probably be slowed, and the Yorkshire leg mothballed for a decade or so. It is more important to address intra-city transport infrastructure, and to address the needs of the fright businesses. We can expect a drop-off in the rate of growth of passengers, especially is subsidies are cut so that will cost savings benefits too.

Anon   28/06/2016 at 11:58

What has the EU to do with a new railway to bring much needed north/south capacity? Indeed, it may not be a priority - economic and political stability surely is - but without expansion of the UK railway network and the continual clogging of the road network, UK growth will be stifled without capacity relief of the WCML and ECML. HS2 should be considered more important post Brexit, not less.

Peter   28/06/2016 at 12:51

'Representatives of major companies say it remains vitally important to the success of the UK ' Well they would say that wouldn't they !

Lee   28/06/2016 at 15:01

A government white elephant and very expensive vanity project that the vast majority of us in this country will never need and certainly do not want! Scrap it now!

Charles Peters   28/06/2016 at 15:39

HS2 as proposed is simply a vanity project for Cameron and Osborne. Ditch it and build something far more suitable and affordable like Greengauge or HSUK

John Grant   28/06/2016 at 18:57

... or re-open the Great Central. BTW are "fright businesses" the next stage of Project Fear?

Lee   28/06/2016 at 21:22

Hip hip!,scrap this satanic project! The people behind it are evil vermin.

Idris   29/06/2016 at 09:16

It seems a little unfair on the rest of the country if cash limits mean it only goes from London to Birmingham. I know that building roads is unpopular, but we are getting really gridlocked all over. Split the budget between current rail improvement and the roads. Same investment, but better and fairer return for everyone country wide.

AE   30/06/2016 at 12:46

So, to all of you guys happy that this project might be delayed or cancelled. I travel to Wigan regularly at weekends from London leaving on a Friday and returning on a Sunday evening. Over the last few years I have found it increasingly difficult to get a seat on the train to London. When the trains were extended by 2 coaches it was OK for a while. Now that capacity has been used up. If you have ever traveled on a Friday or a Sunday evening regularly you don't need official statistics to tell you how swamped the trains are. Something has to be done.

John Grant   30/06/2016 at 14:37

"Something has to be done": preferably something that can deliver extra capacity in less than a decade. ETCS with moving block and ATO, maybe. Or reopening alternative routes shut by Beeching. I don't get the impression the difference between 140 mph and 200 is a big deal for you.

Henry Law   02/07/2016 at 12:59

Time to put together an alternative package including London to Birmingham electrification via High Wycombe and Banbury, the East-West route, partial reopening of the GC, a new local route between Rugby and Birmingham via Coventry, enlargement of capacity at Marylebone and its approaches south of Neasden and between Rickmansworth and Amersham, presently shared with the Metropolitan Line, reinstatement and upgrading of the Midland route to Manchester.

Jb   04/07/2016 at 21:30

Absolutely, re-open the MR and GC routes to Manchester to relieve the WCML of the traffic diverted to it in the late 1960s and once again restore direct links between Manchester, Derby and Leicester - presently only possible by travelling in the wrong direction before making a change. An additional local route between Rugby to Birmingham could use the abandoned alignment between Rugby and Coventry via Leamington, thus restoring local connections in the area too.

Sue Burgin   12/07/2016 at 21:42

lots of peoples properties compulsory purchased if they like it or not!just so a few rich men can get to a meeting quicker!..ridiculous waste of money we have computers now and communication is not an issue!..spend the money more wisely on more carriages,more trains and updating the rail links we have!

Gb   21/07/2016 at 11:30

Has the Transport Secretary ever explained how HS2 will be of benefit to the economy? All we hear are bland statements that it will 'equalise' North and South, etc., but with no concrete facts about the establishment of any new businesses with large numbers of staff needing to make all these high speed journeys - every day. I think it would be far better to spend taxpayers' money on targetted improvements to the existing rail system to improve capacity and connectivity, including re-opening main lines (and some branch lines) closed in the late 1960s, to provide access to the rail system throughout the country for as many people as possible rather than for a few living at the extremities - who already have that facility anyway. Creating such disruption to the landscape and thousands of peoples' lives and property for the sake of cutting 30 mins from the journey time from London to Birmingham seems ridiculous to me and selfish in the extreme. The Govt. should re-examine the rail system's priorities and then spend the money saved by not building HS2 on the NHS, the Police and other public services in dire need.

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