The government is launching a review of high-speed rail link HS2 – with a “go or no-go” decision by the end of the year, the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said.
When asked about the money already spent on the project, Mr Shapps said: “Just because you’ve spent a lot of money on something does not mean you should plough more and more money into it.” He said ministers were asking the reviewers to “just give us the facts”.
But do we already know enough? HS2 is undeniably expensive: £80 – £100 billion to build a lot of untested tech on a small, densely-populated island. Few railway experts think it can be delivered on time and on budget. It bypasses smaller towns in desperate need of better transport. Management mishaps have been a feature.
So is it necessary? Supporters argue that when HS2 is finished, 35,000 seats will be available every hour out of the capital — triple the current level. The project will free up the existing lines for more services to other towns.
Joining Darren Grimes to discuss the issue is the IEA’s Head of Transport and my favourite Yorkshireman Richard Wellings. Subscribe to this podcast on Apple Music.