Latest Rail News


HS2 worried about long-term Brexit impact

HS2 Ltd’s director of finance and operations has said he is “worried” about the long-term impact of Brexit on the £56bn high-speed line project.

Speaking at annual conference of The Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA), Clive Heaphy told delegates that in the short term there is not real risk to the project, “as we’re still going through the parliamentary process”.

“But I’m worried about the long-term impact,” he said, adding that there are concerns about what the EU referendum vote will mean to how HS2 engages with European markets and “the price differentials and tariffs that could potentially be coming our way”.

Heaphy also cited concerns on the long-term impacts of inflation, something HS2 has no control over but will have to be aware of.

“We have very high demand for steel and concrete and we’ll need to watch those prices very carefully,” he said. “We need to talk to Treasury about the mechanisms that we can protect the prices. It has added extra work and more of a challenge.”

During his presentation, Heaphy discussed the many benefits that HS2 will bring to the country, as have been said by many before him.

IMG 20160714 095004

He did note, however, that the project is still on time. But a recent National Audit Office said that HS2 is already behind schedule and could fail to deliver phase 1 by the 2026 target date, with problems including uncertainty about financing, lack of staff and the need for further analysis.

Last week, Sir David Higgins revealed revised plans for the South Yorkshire section of HS2’s phase 2 route, stopping at Sheffield Midland instead of Meadowhall and saving approximately £1bn. Britain’s most senior civil servant, Sir Jeremy Heywood,  has also been conducting a review of HS2 and looking at the project’s costs.

Earlier this week, the then transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin, who has now been replaced by Chris Grayling, defiantly said that HS2 will be completed on time and is more needed than ever following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union.

Although Heaphy’s presentation to CIPFA delegates didn’t focus on the challenges of the project, in an answer to a question from the floor he cited major challenges as being the “immensely long planning process” in the UK, and mobilising the supply chain for multi-billion pound contracts.

Recently, HS2 revealed that the nine companies in the race to win at least one of seven HS2 main civil engineering contracts worth up to £11.8bn have been invited to tender. Beth West, commercial director at HS2 Ltd, also wrote for RTM on the need for a step change in how the supply chain works to deliver the project.

Just after the EU referendum vote, members of the supply chain told RTM that major rail projects like HS2Crossrail 2Northern Powerhouse Rail, and the continued renewal of the network will be “vitally important” to the country’s ability to compete on the global stage

But Lord Berkeley, a member of RTM’s editorial board, said Brexit may put the future of HS2 is in doubt.

(Image: c. European Parliament)

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.


Graham Nalty   15/07/2016 at 13:24

The real worry is that there are many details in HS2 that do not make sense. There is the very high cost of rebuilding Euston, yet HS2 will not connect directly HS1 or Heathrow airport. Terminal stations are no longer considered best practice for high speed lines, yet HS2 trains will stop at terminals at London, Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham. Parkway stations are known to be totally useless in creating jobs in the cities they are meant to serve. Yet Derby, Nottingham and Stoke on Trent are to be served only be remote parkway stations. The new plans for South Yorkshire do not have a satisfactory solution for the Birmingham -Sheffield - Leeds HS2 services. Making the Sheffield stop commercially attractive for cross country operators will add up to an extra £1 billion to the cost. The high cost of tunneling in the Chilterns could be avoided by using the M1 route promoted by High Speed UK. We could start by building the Sheffield - Leeds section of HS2 between the existing stations to boost the Northern Powerhouse economy, but better connectivity between northern cities is far more important than faster journey times to London.

Add your comment



rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Northern leaders warn Treasury against scrapping under-fire HS2

23/05/2019Northern leaders warn Treasury against scrapping under-fire HS2

Scrapping HS2 would be a “disaster” and would undermine Britain’s “national prosperity for decades to come,” more t... more >
Network Rail unveils new regional managing directors

23/05/2019Network Rail unveils new regional managing directors

Network Rail has announced five new regional managing directors as part of its “evolution” towards a more passenger-focused approach.... more >
£800m worth of rail haulage contracts awarded by Network Rail

22/05/2019£800m worth of rail haulage contracts awarded by Network Rail

Network Rail has awarded contracts for rail haulage and the operations of its engineering trains and seasonal treatment services for Control Peri... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News


Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projec... more >
Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >
TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. ... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Meeting clients, suppliers and stepping forward

23/05/2019Meeting clients, suppliers and stepping forward

The Midlands 30-year plan will deliver many economic benefits and will need a wide and diverse supply chain to deliver some of the key projects. ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


The railway franchising model is broken, and passengers are paying the price

13/05/2019The railway franchising model is broken, and passengers are paying the price

Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch and chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), gives her view on the state of the UK’s ... more >
NSAR: Tackling the digital skills shortage

13/05/2019NSAR: Tackling the digital skills shortage

The National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) chief executive Neil Robertson returns to write for RTM, this time, to assess the digital skills shor... more >
Delivering cost-effective electrification

13/05/2019Delivering cost-effective electrification

David Clarke, technical director of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), sets out the findings of a new report on how rail electrification can... more >
5G: An opportunity to revolutionise on-train connectivity

13/05/20195G: An opportunity to revolutionise on-train connectivity

Simon Holmes, group head of digital (engineering) at FirstGroup, introduces us to the 5G solution being delivered for the rail sector.  ... more >