Petition against the cost of HS2

Conceptual image of HS2
Conceptual image of HS2

Campaigners against HS2 have petitioned at Westminster against the overall cost of the high-speed rail project.

Southam action group member Dr Dan Mitchell and Andrew Bodman, of Stop HS2, appeared before the parliamentary select committee last Monday where they put across various points to express their concerns.

They said that the total cost of both Phases 1 and 2 of HS2 could reach £138 billion or more - yet the official figure is £50 billion - and that the largest additional amount is the ongoing subsidy that is likely to be required.

They also said that of all the current high-speed rail lines in the world only two - Paris to Lyon and Tokyo to Osaka - are thought to be profitable and that it is “extremely unlikely” HS2 will follow suit.

The construction costs, according to the petitioners, for Phase 2 have also been “Significantly understated” when taking into account the estimated cost per mile of HS1, which was about £108 million, with the estimated figure likely to rise from £21.2 billion to something closer to £39.4 bilion.

Other elements factored in by the petitioners included the probable need for a new power station to meet the extra need for the line, which would cost up to about £16 billion, £7 billion at Crossrail 2 Euston to help the onward travel of rail passengers to their end destinations, a “nominal” £5 billion for research and development”, security, track maintenance and upgrading.

Dr Mitchell said he was concerned both the taxpayer and the Government were being misled and that £138 billion is a “disproportionate amount” to spend on a single project and that there are other more pressing issues to address on the rail network.