Rail (UK)

Ado­nis makes claim of plan to scrap HS2 east­ern leg

- Richard Clin­nick Head of News richard.clin­nick@bauer­me­dia.co.uk @Richard_rail Birmingham (England) · Leeds · Sheffield · Network Rail Route 18 · House of Lords · House of Lords · Department for Transport · United Kingdom Department for Transport · Dominic Cummings · Boris Johnson · Arbeidersparty · East Midlands · Toton

LORD Ado­nis, the for­mer Sec­re­tary of State for Trans­port who gave ap­proval for HS2, claims that Govern­ment is try­ing to can­cel the east­ern leg of HS2.

As part of the ‘Y-shape’ de­sign of HS2, the east­ern leg is planned to run from Birm­ing­ham to Leeds via the East Mid­lands (with a sta­tion at To­ton) and Sh­effield.

Plans are for it to share tracks with Net­work Rail from the Ch­ester­field area into Sh­effield, while trains will con­tinue be­yond Leeds but on the clas­sic net­work.

But in a House of Lords de­bate on Novem­ber 12, Ado­nis said: “The big con­cern I have at the mo­ment is that, un­der the guise of a re­view, the Govern­ment is es­sen­tially seek­ing to in­def­i­nitely de­lay and quite pos­si­bly can­cel the east­ern leg of HS2.”

He claimed that while the Depart­ment for Trans­port wants work to pro­ceed on the east­ern leg, it was be­ing thwarted by the Trea­sury and Do­minic Cum­mings. The lat­ter has since left his role as ad­vi­sor to Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son.

And the for­mer SoS also claimed that the rea­son there were sep­a­rate Bills for the east­ern and west­ern legs of HS2 was to de­lay the for­mer.

Ado­nis also ac­cused Lord Berke­ley of try­ing to de­lay the en­tire scheme by ask­ing for an in­de­pen­dent peer re­view into the new rail­way.

In the de­bate, Berke­ley said: “What is needed is an in­de­pen­dent opin­ion - in­de­pen­dent of govern­ment, of HS2, and of the var­i­ous con­trac­tors.”

He added: “I shall not say much more ex­cept to re­mind no­ble Lords that prob­a­bly one of the most im­por­tant things that I am fo­cused on is costs.

“One HS2 ex­ec­u­tive, when asked why they had not been trans­par­ent on costs, mem­o­rably replied: ‘If we’d told Par­lia­ment the real costs, they’d prob­a­bly have can­celled the project.’

“That is a very bad rea­son for go­ing ahead with a project. I know Lord Ado­nis will say that I am try­ing to get it stopped, which I am not. I just think that it is time now to get a one-off, in­de­pen­dent re­view so that Par­lia­ment and other peo­ple can then mon­i­tor progress and hold the Govern­ment and HS2 to ac­count if they feel it nec­es­sary.”

Re­ply­ing to Berke­ley, Ado­nis said that HS2 “has been re­viewed to death” and sug­gested that

claims the Oak­ervee Re­view was not in­de­pen­dent were “a lot of com­plete non­sense”.

Ado­nis said of Berke­ley: “He has con­sis­tently ex­pressed an opin­ion that HS2 is a bad thing. He says that there should be an in­de­pen­dent re­view, but he then says that it is very poor value for money and the costs - what­ever they are at any given time - are spi­ralling out of con­trol. He makes a se­ries of as­ser­tions that, al­though he is per­fectly en­ti­tled to make them, mostly do not cor­re­spond to the ac­tual anal­y­sis by in­de­pen­dent ad­vis­ers. And he then calls for another re­view.

“The Oak­ervee re­view, which has just been con­cluded and on which the Govern­ment has de­cided to pro­ceed, is the fifth ma­jor in­de­pen­dent re­view of HS2 since I an­nounced the scheme to Par­lia­ment in March 2010.

“What my no­ble friend Lord Berke­ley is seek­ing to do is to kill the scheme by re­view. In­deed, I wish the min­is­ter would can­cel the cur­rent re­view of the east­ern leg, which is do­ing pre­cisely what my no­ble friend wants to do - to re­view to death one-third of the scheme.”

Dur­ing the same de­bate,

Lord Snape (Labour), a for­mer rail­way­man, said of the con­cerns re­gard­ing the east­ern leg: “There is a con­nec­tiv­ity prob­lem with HS2. If it were de­cided, wrongly, to trun­cate the east­ern leg of HS2 some­where in the East Mid­lands and pre­sum­ably elec­trify the ex­ist­ing line so that HS2 trains will join the ex­ist­ing main line at some un­spec­i­fied point in the

East Mid­lands, there would be an im­me­di­ate con­nec­tiv­ity prob­lem.”

Baroness Vere also spoke of the need to change the way projects are dis­cussed: “We have to wean our­selves off say­ing on day one:

‘It will cost £X bil­lion and it will be fin­ished on X date’.

“We have to come up with a dif­fer­ent sys­tem that looks more at ranges of costs and sched­ules, be­cause it is im­pos­si­ble to de­fine such things from the start.”

Ado­nis: “The Govern­ment is seek­ing to in­def­i­nitely de­lay and quite pos­si­bly can­cel the east­ern leg of HS2.”

Berke­ley: “It is time now to get a one­off, in­de­pen­dent re­view so that Par­lia­ment and other peo­ple can mon­i­tor progress.”

 ?? PAUL BIGGS. ?? In a House of Lords de­bate about the east­ern leg of HS2, Lord Snape said that mak­ing greater use of the Mid­land Main Line in­stead would cause prob­lems. On Oc­to­ber 28, East Mid­lands Rail­way 43295 leads the 0634 Leeds-St Pan­cras In­ter­na­tional through Sys­ton South Junc­tion (near Le­ices­ter).
PAUL BIGGS. In a House of Lords de­bate about the east­ern leg of HS2, Lord Snape said that mak­ing greater use of the Mid­land Main Line in­stead would cause prob­lems. On Oc­to­ber 28, East Mid­lands Rail­way 43295 leads the 0634 Leeds-St Pan­cras In­ter­na­tional through Sys­ton South Junc­tion (near Le­ices­ter).
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