HS2 BILL TO BE DOUBLE THE ORIGINAL ESTIMATE
Construction of entire project to top £111bn with £7bn more for the trains
THE projected bill for HS2 will be £111 billion, according to a new Department for Transport (DfT) estimate – double the initial £55.7bn figure.
The government-calculated estimate suggests that Phase 1 of HS2, from London to Birmingham, would cost £48 billion.
Construction of the entire project is now estimated to be £104bn, with another £7bn added due to the cost of the trains.
After being commissioned by the DfT, the estimate was produced by Michael Byng, the man who created the method used by Network Rail to cost its project. His calculations suggest that HS2 will cost double the official figure and 15 times more than the cost per mile of the TGV in France.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, Mr Byng said his estimates had not been questioned by the rail network and that contractors are “worried”.
He said: “HS2 has not questioned the figure, or my methodology, nor have they come up with any structured estimate of their own. A couple days later I got a call from the DfT saying, look, if 6.6 miles is going to cost us £8.25 billion, what chance have we got of getting to Birmingham. I said: ‘I’ll work it out for you’.
“Michael Hurn, the project sponsor at the DfT, is a very good guy and is very worried at the advice he’s been given [by HS2]. The big contractors are also worried. They’ve said when they submit a bid it’s nowhere near [as low as] the estimates that HS2 have got for the job.”
The project has experienced setbacks and delays and the final design project of HS2 is expected to take up to 18 months.
Stop HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin responded to Mr Byng’s calculations and said the costs could pos- sibly rise more in those months.
He said: “The cost of HS2 has already doubled once since it was first proposed, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that it might double again, but when it is the man who
wrote the book on estimating rail projects saying this, Government should really listen.
“With it being so obvious to everyone who lives in the real world that there are so many far more important priorities for public spending, it seems utterly insane that the Government are still wedded to this vainglorious vanity project and all its’ false promises. With the final design for HS2 not due for another 18 months, it is already two years late and that redesign will almost certainly jack up the costs again.”
Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2, said that the budget for the high-speed rail network is more of a “fantasy than reality”.
She added: “Up until now the Government has been getting away with it because the bulk of the spending will come later. But as construction comes nearer, the real cost of HS2 will have to be paid.”
“It’s time to cancel HS2 and use the money that will be saved on things that will benefit more people rather than a few fat cats.”
Stop HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin