THE eagerly-awaited report looking at the timing and costs of building Britain's first domestic High Speed railway is published today by David Higgins, the new chairman of HS2 Ltd. He wants a more ambitious redevelopment of London Euston station and the line to be extended to a major transport hub at Crewe by 2027, six years sooner than planned. He also believes the whole ‘Y’ network could be completed up to three years earlier, by 2030.
“I propose the Government should look at a more comprehensive redevelopment of Euston – a solution that could truly stand the test of time and allow the station to join St Pancras and King’s Cross as an iconic driver of local regeneration whose beneficial effects will be felt for generations,” he says.
“Equally, I propose the Government should accelerate phase two as soon as possible to take the line 43 miles further north than planned in phase one, to a new transport hub at Crewe which could be completed by 2027, six years earlier than planned.
“It is the right strategic answer, and not just for the area around Crewe: it would also deliver the benefits of HS2 – in terms of better services to the North – much sooner.”
However, after “an exhaustive review of the costs outlined in the first phase of the project” David Higgins proposes no change yet in the outline budget –firmly passing responsibility back to politicians and making clear that “the key variable” is the length of time that legislation will take. “That is a matter for Government and Parliament,” he states.
But there is a possibility that a lower budget for phase one could be set at some point in the future “when the legislative timetable becomes clearer and more certain.”
David Higgins is in no doubt of the overall need for HS2. He says: “Without HS2, the people of this country will continue to face the failures of our transport system on a daily basis.
“With it, they will begin to see a strategic answer that can deliver real benefits within the foreseeable future. That is why, I believe, HS2 is a project which, despite the issues it raises, is in the national interest.”
Higgins report in detail