Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has revealed a review is being carried out to ensure the HS2 rail link is ‘deliverable’, sparking fresh fears the £56billion project will be scrapped
- Chris Grayling said HS2’s chairman is assessing if it can be built within budget
- He also indicated that parts of the high-speed rail link could be scaled back
- Despite warnings that HS2 could cost up to £100billion, the Transport Secretary has previously insisted the scheme was on time and on budget
Chris Grayling indicated that parts of the high-speed rail link could be scaled back
Fresh doubts have been raised over the future of HS2 after the Transport Secretary revealed a review is being carried out to ensure the rail link is ‘deliverable’.
Chris Grayling said Allan Cook, the project’s new chairman, is assessing whether it can be built within its existing £56billion budget.
He also indicated that parts of the high-speed rail link could be scaled back in the wake of the Crossrail debacle, which will open up to two years late and as much as £2.8billion over budget.
Despite warnings that HS2 could cost up to £100billion, the Transport Secretary has previously insisted the scheme was on time and on budget. But speaking to the New Civil Engineer magazine, he did not sound so convinced.
He said: ‘What we’ve got with HS2 is a new chairman in Allan Cook who is rightly taking his first period of the project to make sure it’s in good shape, to make sure the budget is right, the costs are right and that it’s deliverable.
‘I’m really waiting for Allan to come back to me to say this is how we’re going to take the project forward.’
Mr Cook was appointed as HS2 chief in December following the resignation of his predecessor Sir Terry Morgan in the wake of the Crossrail delay.
Sir Terry also quit as chairman of Crossrail. The comments from Mr Grayling will provide further ammunition to Tory leadership candidates.
Boris Johnson, Andrea Leadsom, Liz Truss, and Esther McVey have all voiced concerns about the line, a stance which should play well with many Tory members who are fiercely opposed to it.
Earlier this week Mrs Leadsom claimed that up to £12billion had been spent on the rail link without a single piece of track being laid. This is almost twice the total revealed in official figures.
HS2 bosses have previously said they are considering running fewer services and slower trains in order to save cash and ensure the 225mph rail link between London, Birmingham and up to the North can be delivered within budget.
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