Thursday, January 24, 2019

No one knows what the final cost of HS2 will be, says ex-chairman

Sir Terry Morgan, the former chair of HS2, spoke to the House of Lords economic affairs committee earlier this week.

As Rail Technology Magazine reports, he did not hold back:
"They [the HS2 project team] have a lot of work to do," Sir Terry said, in response to Lord Forsyth’s query on overall cost. 
"Nobody knows actually yet. All I’m saying to you is that the HS2 team will have the challenge of what I would describe as cost, time, and not least, scope."
And that was not the half of it:
Sir Terry went on to note that the current management team is still working to the original scope of the project — 18 trains an hour at a top speed of 250mph - however said that HS2 could be looking to scale down the project. 
He said: “It’s a combination of frequency and speed. That is one of the things that, inside the project team, the determination is that the scope is still being worked to as specified by government. But at the same time you won’t be surprised that one of the things that HS2 will be doing when it looks at ‘what-ifs’ – what if it wasn’t 18 trains an hour, what if it was something less an hour. 
“I think the triangle of scope, cost, and time, something has to give. Something will have to give. I think the whole question about the value for money, about do we need the speed, do we need the frequency, I think is something that people will have to flex.”
Today's papers are full of government reassurances that HS2 will continue north of Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester. But I would not put too much money on that.

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