Latest Rail News

20.05.16

Manchester arm could be axed as HS2 admits ‘nothing is ruled out’ in cost-cutting

The HS2 line to Manchester may not be built as part of efforts to get the project’s budget under control, according to sources.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Whitehall insiders have said that cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood’s review of how to keep the project within its £55bn budget is considering stopping the line at Crewe, requiring high-speed trains to run to Manchester on conventional rail for the last 35 miles of the journey.

The sources also said that other smaller cost-cutting measures being considered, such as removing the station at Sheffield Meadowhall and linking to the West Coast Main Line in Staffordshire, were unlikely to meet the necessary savings.

But more expensive elements, such as tunnels designed to reduce the project’s impact on the Chilterns and west London, could still face the axe.

An HS2 spokesperson also suggested the project may be taken away from the DfT’s remit, telling the Telegraph: “The Treasury have come to the meetings [with us] with the view that nothing is ruled out. They want to be much closer to HS2 – from their side they feel that DfT overlooking the project is not working.

“We are putting in £12 billion of contracts this summer and I don’t think the Treasury are entirely happy that safeguards are in place.”

And while HS2 has promised to open the link between Birmingham and Crewe in 2027, six years earlier than planned, the exact route for the rest of phase 2 is running two years behind schedule, and is now only expected to be announced in the autumn – subject to Heywood’s review.

The review comes at a time of controversy for HS2, with the project’s Bill currently going through a House of Lords select committee.

It has been criticised in reports by former Independent Police Complaints Commissioner Ian Bynoe and the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee for problems in how it engages with communities.

(Image c. HS2 Ltd)

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Comments

The North   20/05/2016 at 12:46

Yet more London-centric decision making. Yes cut Manchester, often cited as the UK's second City, off High Speed 2 - why not cut off Birmingham too? Surely stopping in the Chilterns, just before the (too expensive) tunnels would be best for the whole country? Personally, I think the Government missed the opportunity to be brave and unite the whole country. HS2 or HS3 should have been planned to immediately (a bit like Cross-rail 1&2 planning) fully extend to Wales & Scotland! Look at how MANCHESTER's METROLINK has grown without interference from London... By the way - have "we" sold off our major stations to the banks/investment firms yet? I still see no good reason why "we" did not just re-mortgage them & at least have a chance to retain them for the nation. London based investment advisors involved perhaps?? Yes - very cynical on all this. Who's for a revolution??

Mark   20/05/2016 at 13:02

I do not think cut Manchest spur will come true, giving fact that DfT just annouce the belowing statement: And cities like Leeds, Manchester, Crewe and Sheffield are preparing for Phase 2.(https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/queens-speech-debate-transport-and-infrastructure) and https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/high-speed-rail-and-connected-cities. And the HS3 would make no sense if HS2 Manchest spur is axed.

Shaun   20/05/2016 at 13:18

So a proposal is for the northern powerhouse to extend as far north as Crewe? Whilst London will retain the bulk of the countries investment.

Nonsuchmike   20/05/2016 at 13:18

One can understand the huge dose of cynicism from Monsieur LeNord et alii, bearing in mind the great dollop of macho braggadocio from Boris and others recently, but the truth of the matter is that Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and many other midland and northern cities are in desperate need of HS2 today, let alone in 10 - 15 years time. Or, subject to delays and slippage, in 25 years time. Procrastination is not going to reduce the overall costs of the projects. far from it, the costs will only escalate. My comments on this situation border on the biblical: no wise man sets out to build a railway without fully costing the situation beforehand and whether or not it can be afforded. Secondly, once you start, you should not turn back; yes, revise in the light of recent developments, but decide and press on as quickly as possible. It's a bit like having children for couples today. If you wait until you can afford them, you'll never have any. However, once they start to come along, then they have to be afforded somehow, and revisions to expenditure and lifestyle follow, or else disaster. So let it be with Caesar.

PETER S WESTON   20/05/2016 at 13:56

THE ENTIRE PROJECT SHOULD BE CANCELLED, ITS A WASTE OF TAXPAYERS' MONEY. THIS COULD THREATEN THE FUTURE OF THE WEST COAST MAINLINE. AN ALTERNATIVE PLAN COULD BE TO RE-CONSTRUCT & RE-OPEN THE GREAT CENTRAL, THE ONLY SNAG WOULD MEAN THERE WOULD BE TIGHT CURVES TO GET IT INTO THE WEST COAST MAINLINE AT RUGBY. SIMPLE ANSWER IS:- ALL UPGRADE THE WEST COAST TO 140MPH AS TONY BLAIR WANTED TO DO SO. OMIT ALL RUGBY STOPS FROM THE DIRECT KILSBY TUNNEL ROUTE. RE-OPEN GREAT CENTRAL TO RUGBY TO 125MPH ELECTRIFIED STANDARDS, RUN A 30 MINUTE FREQUENCY PENDOLINO/CLASS 91 & MK4 SERVICE ALL TO CALL AT RUGBY. BUILD A NEW LINK OFF THE WCML AT TRING TO RUN ALONGSIDE A41 TO AYLESBURY, RUN TO THE SOUTH OF AYLESBURY LIN INTO EXISTINF FORMER GC/CHILTERN LINE THROUGH AYLESBURY. ENSURE ALL TRAINS CALL AT AYLESBURY AS WELL.

Lesf   20/05/2016 at 14:01

They can save a lot of money by cutting HS2 down to 10 metres long and putting it in the right place - in a museum. Then we can get to work on building something worthwhile.

Manchester Mike   20/05/2016 at 14:41

Peter Weston, shouting in ALL CAPS doesn't help. Comprehensive study has alas already discarded reopening the Grand Central alignment as having too many restrictions and not the same value for money as HS2. The ship has sailed, the train has left the station, HS2 has all party support.

Mark   20/05/2016 at 17:21

The telegraph news report on 14th May but Dft made it clear that Hs2 will reach Manchester and Leeds,and it is in Queen's speech too. I am grow up in China whether rumors are all around,but it seems newspapers in UK are also good at making news to attract people's eyes.At the same time The star said Hs2 might not reach Sheffied, is that a way for lobbying or the newspaper want to misguided on purpose?

David Mundy   21/05/2016 at 11:07

Yes lets share the wealth of London with the north and they too can struggle to buy a house at sky high prices on just an average wage!!!!!!!! for me living just 30 miles from London has been a burden, I don,t think they know how well off they are,down here not all of us work in the city

Patrick Adams   21/05/2016 at 12:47

And now the new Mayor of London wants Euston scrapped as the terminus. The whole thing is unravelling fast. I tend to agree that a much scaled down project, perhaps Rugby southwards along the old GC, is all that is deliverable and all that is really needed.

Ian Reed   22/05/2016 at 12:16

In your comment Mark about HS2 & Manchester there is NO mention about Manchester. Just a vague statement that if all goes the way the Government wants it to that HS2 could start next year.

Huguenot   22/05/2016 at 21:17

All this about de-scoping HS2 is just madness. Why do the costs keep going up (above inflation) anyway? Let's just get on with it. I agree with Nonsuchmike that the more delays that are built in the more it will cost. We have seen this time and again on conventional railway projects. One area where money could be saved is on the Chiltern tunnels. Yes, there will have to be some tunnelling under the Chilterns but in the current proposal they are too long and too many.

Howard   22/05/2016 at 21:41

This whole article is built upon a Telegraph supposed 'insider' contribution. I will await government annoucements. There was a time I would have trusted the Telegraph. No more; just a UKIP rag.

Lutz   23/05/2016 at 10:22

The value of eh whole scheme would be undermined if the line did not go to the heart of the UK's second city, but dropping the link through Sheffield, and Yorkshire would be no loss. Unfortunately something has to be postponed (rather than cut altogether), that or start seeing major cuts to the CP5 and CP6 programs.

John   25/05/2016 at 16:48

Sir Jeremy Heywood is conducting a review of HS2 to cut costs. The heavy rumours are that HS2 will only be one line from London to the Crewe Junction via Birmingham. To Scotland, Liverpool and Manchester the high-speed trains will run on existing classic lines from Crewe. To Manchester it will be only about 12 minutes slower than using a full dedicated HS2 line into the city once bottlenecks are removed from the existing direct classic line from Crewe. Using the new Hitachi 140mph trains Leeds is accessed on existing 'straight' 'direct' lines, again about 12 minutes slower than HS2. The same for Sheffield on the MML, when all electrified. So the eastern leg of the HS2 'Y' can be abandoned cutting great costs. HS3, the proposed west to east Liverpool to Hull line via Manchester & Leeds/Sheffield determines the top end design of HS2. This part of HS2 has not been finalised nor has HS3. To link the two HS lines would mean a HS2 redesign at Manchester and Leeds. More likely HS3 will not be 'high-speed' but just a fast line using some new long tunnels and viaducts over the Pennines. It may then branch into the existing north-south classic ECML line on the east and run into HS2 high-speed to London on the WCML west side from Crewe onwards. Birmingham needs only to be accessed via existing classic lines to New St where the best connections are made for the area. At the London end terminating at Old Oak Common, and/or running HS2 trains into Crossrail makes lots of sense. Take passengers nearer to their end destinations via Crossrail tunnels. Most passengers at Euston take an underground train to their eventual destinations. So terminating at Old Oak Common and taking Crossrail and/or having HS2 running into Crossrail makes perfect sense. Leave Euston alone. - HS2 only need run to Crewe via Birmingham. - The existing lines to Manchester and Liverpool from Crewe can have the bottlenecks ironed out to increase speed and safety. - The existing lines to Leeds and Sheffield can also have the bottlenecks ironed and full 140mph trains run on the lines. - The WCML line just north of Kendall can be run in a new bored tunnel to remove the dogleg from the line improving times to Scotland. - Having no captive trains, only classic compatible to standardise on the high-speed line. - Build the high-speed Crewe Hub, so trains can seamlessly, and fast, run off HS2 onto existing classic lines. - Have Chester on the route, running into Chester from Crewe.

Banklineman   25/05/2016 at 22:04

If a spine and spur route design had been adopted with 4 road running to the midlands most of our large cities of the Midlands and North would have been catered for, but here we go again infighting !! East verse West or who has the most clout ,not what is best for the people at large.

Mackem   02/08/2016 at 17:15

Point of information. Manchester is nowhere near being England's second city. It's about number four or five in size. Birmingham is, and always will be England's second city

John Burns   04/11/2016 at 10:47

Makem, HMG is pouring money in Manchester. Artificially boosting a city never works in the long run. The city is not in a good natural location either. It is baffling why they are doing this. It does not make sense.

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