Latest Rail News


HS2 ‘unbelievably costly’ – IEA

HS2’s costs could double, the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) has warned. The free market think tank – which tends to favour road-building – has called for the project to be scrapped, with the money spend on more “commercially viable projects”.

The Government dismissed the claims, stating that HS2 will be delivered within its £42.6bn budget envelope.

The IEA suggested the project could end up costing taxpayers £80bn when extra infrastructure and design changes were accounted for. The higher figure covers the cost of new trains for the route, extra tunnels “to keep voters on side”, upgrades to new road links and tram lines, and regeneration schemes around both the new stations and bypassed towns.

Author Dr Richard Wellings – who has previously advocated privatising Britain’s entire road network to raise £150bn – said: “The evidence is now overwhelming that this will be unbelievably costly to the taxpayer while delivering incredibly poor value for money.

“It's shameful that at a time of such financial difficulty for many families, the government is caving in to lobbying from businesses, local councils and self-interested politicians more concerned with winning votes than governing in the national interest.”

Last month legal challenges against HS2 were all rejected by the court. Campaigners have resolved to bring a final appeal before the Supreme Court later this year.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “HS2 is absolutely vital for this country, providing a huge economic boost which will generate a return on investment that will continue paying back for generations to come.

“Without it, the key rail routes connecting London, the Midlands and the North will be overwhelmed. HS2 will provide the capacity needed in a way that will generate hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of pounds worth of economic benefits.

“The Government is committed to managing the cost within the budget we have set for the project and to securing maximum value for money for the taxpayer, while also ensuring that preparations are properly made for the most significant infrastructure investment the UK has seen in modern times.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at

Image c. HS2 Ltd


Chris Mly   20/08/2013 at 11:00

The IEA is a right-wing thinktank bankrolled by unknown wealthy sponsors who no doubt have an agenda. It has a long track record of rubbishing public transport investment. It has plucked this £80 billion figure from thin air by imagining extra HS2 infrastructure schemes and by adding the cost of other public transport schemes such as Crossrail 2 and Nottingham trams. Not to be taken seriously.

Add your comment



Rail industry Focus

  • 11/09/2019The next generation of rail infrastructure

    How the rail industry delivers the next generation of complex infrastructure will rely heavily on the people tasked with leading the projects, and the technology they use to do it. Faithful+Gould...
  • 11/09/2019Putting passengers first

    How does the rail industry design the railways for the next 40 years, and when it does, how do we make sure it’s all done with the passenger in mind? Jane Fisher joined three members of the Arup team...
View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

Connecting Network Rail with the supply chain

17/09/2019Connecting Network Rail with the supply chain

Continuing our mission to connect buyers with suppliers, This year TransCityRail North is adding a new element to the event. We are introducing an incomparable opportunity for you to meet with over 11 procurement directors from Network Rail... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

24/06/2019Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

Ahead of his appearance, Malcolm Holmes spoke with Rail Technology Magazine about what key leaders in the industry were doing to improve rail in the Midlands. He said: “It’s very... more >