HS2 construction delays expected amid budgetary concerns

A major announcement regarding HS2 is expected from the UK Government soon, which will outline delays to construction in an attempt to reduce costs.

With costs now totalling approximately £71bn, the HS2 project is facing increasingly intensifying scrutiny as budgets continue to stretch well beyond its initial estimated £30.9 bn - £36 bn outlay. Currently battling the rising inflations and material costs, it is believed that forced delays to the process will amortise costs, ensuring a more affordable railway through expenditure reduction.

Responding to the rising inflation, Mark Thurston, chief executive of HS2 Ltd, labelled it “significant” across the board, “whether that's in timber, steel, aggregates for all the concrete we need to use to build the job, labour, all our energy costs, fuel.”

According to BBC reports, It is currently believed that these delays will primarily affect route sections from Manchester to Crewe and Birmingham to Crewe. Sources also believe that the design teams working on the Euston end of the line may be affected, with contractors questioning whether should redeploy staff working on the site.

Conservative MP Simon Clarke, former chief secretary to the Treasury, tweeted that delaying construction "would be a sensible decision".

"Having observed HS2's progress as chief secretary, I have serious doubts as to value for money and cost control," he said.

This news of delays contrasts a message from Transport secretary Mark Harper, in October of last year, where he stated that the current forecasted planning for project completion remained “on track.”

Current plans are for HS2 trains to carry their first passengers between Old Oak Common station in West London and Birmingham, between 2029 and 2033. Euston station in London is currently scheduled to open by 2035. Further stretches to Crewe and then to Manchester are due by 2034 and 2041.

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