die belebende Bedenkung

HS2 de-scope options

with 3 comments

Although the cost of HS2 is supposed to include plenty of contingency, it seems increasingly unlikely that the Y network could be implemented for “£50.1 billion at 2011 prices”. So, what de-scope options might be available?

1. Curtailing the western leg

Apart from pandering to Pete Waterman, the rationale for routeing the Y network via Crewe must have included the town’s suitability as a curtailment point. So-called classic-compatible HS2 trains could proceed from there to Manchester, and Scotland, on existing trackage.

2. Curtailing the eastern leg

Curtailing the western leg alone would create political difficulties for north west local authorities. However, the routeing of the eastern leg via Toton appears to have been intended to allow a degree of equity in de-scope. With electrification of the Erewash valley line, classic-compatible trains could proceed from a junction at Toton to Sheffield, Leeds, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

3. Deleting Bickenhill parkway (a.k.a. ‘Birmingham interchange’, ‘Solihull interchange’)

Removing the awkwardly sited Bickenhill HS2 station might only reduce direct costs by £400 million, but total savings to government could exceed £1 billion. Centro’s connectivity package wish-list would cost more than Bickenhill station itself.

4. Making Old Oak Common the London terminus

The Old Oak Common to Euston stretch of HS2 must be the most expensive section of the whole project, but in George Osborne’s vision, land-grab-max at Euston appears to be paramount. Indeed, HS2 could now be described as a Euston real-estate scheme, with a railway attached. De-scoping HS2 in the North could release funds for the ‘more comprehensive development of Euston’ favoured by the government.

Of course, none of the de-scopes mentioned would have much effect on the commercial viability of HS2. If the Y network, or ‘Y-network-lite’, is built, future governments will need to find hundreds of millions of pounds each year, to meet the operating losses.


Written by beleben

September 25, 2014 at 11:26 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

3 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. You could add:

    5. See what HS3 looks like first.

    If HS3 turns out to include a Manchester Victoria-M62 corridor-Leeds fast connector, a nationally productive sixth option would become obvious: park HS2 and build HS3 first:

    Michael Wand

    September 25, 2014 at 1:19 pm

  2. […] Part one […]

  3. Just as general context, it is also worth noting that the European Commission’s plans (signed up to by the UK government) do not include the eastern arm of the ‘Y’. For further details, ignore the UK Government websites and Wiki – both are out of date. For the maps see

    Also, in relation to the ‘land-grab’ aspect which you mention, the EC plans (again, signed up to by the UK government) include new powers for what they call ‘the last mile’ and ‘urban nodes’. Basically this means scooping up the new links between HSR and local transport, and the wider station developments, so that they come under the subsidiarity powers of the EU. The Regulations from December 2013 outline the powers: One of the best current examples of this is the leveraging of a large new shopping plaza out of the re-configuration of Stuttgart station. It is the shopping plaza that is designed to bring in the money to balance the books of the rail scheme …


    September 28, 2014 at 10:45 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: