HS2 trains ‘could be run slower in bid to cut costs’
Running slower and fewer trains on the new HS2 line are among the options available to keep the rail project within budget, its chief executive has said.
Phase 1 of the £56 billion high speed rail link will open between London and Birmingham in December 2026 before the railway is extended to Crewe, Manchester and Leeds.
HS2 trains are designed to operate at up to 225mph and also serve locations on the existing mainline network, such as Liverpool, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
But at a meeting with MPS, HS2 Ltd chief executive Mark Thurston said train speeds and frequency could be changed in an effort to reduce cost.
Details of the meeting of the All-party Parliamentary Rail Group in November were revealed in a letter from Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom to Mr Thurston in which she raised concerns about the “viability” of the project.
She wrote: “My parliamentary assistant, who attended on my behalf, tells me that you informed the APPG that, ahead of the review of the business case for HS2 next year, a number of changes to the project may have to be considered in order to keep it within budget and on time – something my colleague the Secretary of State for Transport has made clear is imperative.”
Ms Leadsom said options discussed included lowering train speeds by around 30mph and cutting trains from 18 to 14 an hour.