HS2 is a big draw
At this early stage, eight months into Network Rail’s current five year funding period [Control Period 5], the cost estimates of many of its programmes have not yet been determined, said rail minister Claire Perry on December 16.
[Railways: Infrastructure: Written question – 218298, response by Claire Perry]
Network Rail continues to develop the Rail Investment Strategy programme with the Department and review costs with the Office of Rail Regulation. The Transport Secretary has been clear these projects should be delivered within the overall Network Rail budget. The latest cost estimates (in 2012/13 prices) are listed below, though not all of these programmes have been through the Office of Rail Regulation’s cost scrutiny process (“Enhancements Cost Adjustment Mechanism”):
(a) Reading Station Area Resignalling and Remodelling, including the new station and maintenance depot: £895m is Network Rail’s anticipated final cost when the scheme completes at Easter 2015
(b) East West Rail Phase 1 (Oxford – Bicester) – Network Rail estimate of £318m
(c) East West Rail Phase 2 (Bicester – Bletchley – Bedford) – currently at an early stage of development
(d) The Northern Hub – funding commitment of £600m, programme still in development
(e) TransPennine electrification – funding commitment of £300m, programme still in development
(f) Great Western Mainline electrification – Network Rail recent estimate of £1.7bn
(g) Midland Mainline electrification – Network Rail recent estimate of £1.3bn
(h) South Wales Mainline electrification – the section from Cardiff to Swansea is at an early stage of development
(i) Valley Lines electrification – at an early stage of development (sponsored by the Welsh Government)
“At this early stage”? Great Western Main Line part-electrification was announced by Andrew Adonis on 23 July 2009. If its estimate has risen from £1 billion to £1.7 billion, that should be setting off alarm bells about the cost of HS2. The GWML wiring is only for 225 km/h linespeeds. HS2 electrification would need to be much beefier, to cope with its much higher train speeds, and much larger current draws.