Cost of UK high-speed rail project jumps

By Helen Wright28 June 2013

The UK's planned new high-speed rail line (HS2) will link London with Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds

The UK's planned new high-speed rail line (HS2) will link London with Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield.

The estimated cost of building a new North/South high-speed rail link in the UK has jumped by £8 billion (€9.3 billion) to £43 billion (€49.8 billion), according to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

Building the HS2 link between London and the north is being made more expensive by new measures to minimise disruption and impact to the environment. These include two extra tunnels which have been added to the route, one in west London and the other near Birmingham in the north.

The High-Speed Two (HS2) project is planned to be built in two phases. The 90 mile (104km) first phase will see the construction of a line from London to the West Midlands, including Birmingham, which also connects with the existing High-Speed One (HS1) network. This line is expected to open in 2026, with construction scheduled to start in 2016.

The next phase is scheduled for construction in 2032 to 2033 and is expected to cost £16.8 billion (€19.7 billion) to complete. This phase extends the line in the north to Manchester and Leeds. The government forecast that the entire project would generate benefits of up to £47 billion (€57 billion) and fare revenues of up to £34 billion (€41 billion) over a 60-year period.

The government initially forecast that construction of the full network would cost £33.1 billion (€38.8 billion). But in January this year, this was revised upwards to £34.5 billion (€40 billion).

In addition to construction costs, the price of the rolling stock has also increased. Mr McLoughlin said the high-speed trains that will run on the network are now expected to cost an extra £7.5 billion (€8.8 billion), bringing the total cost of the project to more than £50 billion (€58 billion).

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