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HS2 costs "rocketing towards £100B"

Lord Berkeley, Chairman of the UK Rail Freight Group (RFG), has expressed concern that construction costs for Phase 1 (London-West Midlands) of HS2 are likely to be more than double the Government’s funding envelope of £24.3B at 2015 prices
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Lord Berkeley has expressed his concerns as a Member of the House of Lords. The issue does not concern RFG directly, although his general view is that Network Rail does not seem to have the capability any more to price railway works properly, applies to freight as well as passenger upgrades.

Work by independent experts, following cost comparisons presented to the Select Committee, last Octonber, suggests that Phase 1 costs could be as much as €54B.

Lord Berkeley has previously warned that, far from freeing existing rail capacity for more freight paths, HS2 could lead to a “capacity crunch” on parts of the system, particularly in the North and Midlands, due to bad design.

The latest government costing for phase 1 is £24.3B including contingency work and the overall funding envelope (phases 1, 2a and 2b, and rolling stock) is £55.7B. However, on the basis of accurate costings, the costs to completion could rise to a ruinous £100B.

The matter will be debated again in the Lords at Report Stage on Tuesday, 24th January.

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