Doubts growing over HS2, investigation reports

11 February 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

A Channel 4 documentary to be broadcast this evening will claim that the government is considering only building HS2 as far as Birmingham, or even halting it altogether, amid spiralling costs.

Professor Stephen Glaister, former head of the Office of Rail and Road, will claim on the Dispatches programme that HS2 has not been properly thought through, suggesting that giving larger sums of money to Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle might have been more effective.

The programme is also set to claim that the annual cost of the project, originally estimated at £4.2bn, could rise to £6bn.

But a spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “HS2 is already underway with 7,000 people and 2,000 businesses working on building what will become the backbone of Britain’s rail network. This new rail line will integrate with Northern Powerhouse Rail and together they will transform the region, improving connections between major cities, boosting productivity, delivering better journeys for passengers and driving forward economic growth across the country.”

As plans currently stand, HS2 will provide a 330-mile high-speed rail link between London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, with full completion expected in 2033.

The Dispatches programme will air tonight on Channel 4 at 8pm.


Why waste bother continuing with 20th century technology when instead we should looking to the future and investing with Maglev. Easier and cheaper to build and a lot faster!

Philip Earwicker, 12 February 2019

The costs of this ill conceived scheme are so far out of control the HS2 PR team have come up with the wheeze of quoting them in £bn per year, ahem over how many years? Perhaps there is more value in spending less money on improving rail connectivity and reliability - Swindon to Stoke-on-Trent, a 120 mile journey by car taking a little over two hours, takes over three hours by train via Bristol if there are no delays.

Sebastian Bettley, 14 February 2019

Journey time is not the main issue. Capacity, connectivity and reliability are the immediate problems that need to be addressed. It is right to question the wisdom of adding another line into London which already has two north-south main lines when other parts of the country have very poor or no rail service at all.

David Stacey, 19 February 2019

Leave a comment