HS2 costs on the move
After he was appointed chairman of HS2 Ltd, David Higgins spoke of building the ‘shells’ of the Manchester Piccadilly and Leeds New Lane high speed stations in advance, to inspire confidence that the scheme would go ahead. But on 1 June 2015, The Yorkshire Evening Post reported that it “understands the original proposal for a separate HS2 station in Leeds around the current site of Asda House, known as New Lane, is now considered all but dead”.
[…] HS2 executive chairman Sir David Higgins is due to produce a report later this year looking at the options for the future of Leeds station to ensure HS2 services are properly intergrated [sic] with local lines and emerging plans for east-west high speed rail, known as HS3. […]
The focus has now shifted to how the existing station can be expanded or a second station can be constructed in a way that it can be easily connected to the current terminal.
A key benefit of redeveloping Leeds City station for HS2 is the possibility of “burying” the high speed rail terminal costs in non-HS2 (Network Rail and local authority) budgets.
On 19 June 2015 WSP Group announced its Parsons Brinckerhoff unit had been “appointed by Network Rail to deliver engineering consultancy and infrastructure planning services at Old Oak Common, for the key interchange station between the Great Western Main Line / Crossrail and HS2″. That would suggest that the cost of Old Oak interchange is being charged to Network Rail, rather than to the HS2 budget.
Given that HS2 is unlikely to be buildable for £50 billion, it would be no surprise to find the cost of HS2 stations at Crewe, Euston, Old Oak, Manchester, and Leeds all ending up moved off-balance-sheet, as part of the ‘cost control’ subterfuge.