The first phase of HS2 – the new high-speed rail line – linking London and Birmingham (see below) is running a bit late. Estimates suggest the £50bn infrastructure project is somewhere between six and 20 months behind schedule.
Yet transport experts still expect an on-time opening in 2026 and dismiss suggestions that this summer’s EU referendum result has put the scheme, which is unlikely to receive planning consent until early 2017, at risk.
David Hampton, technical director at transport consultancy Tyréns, says: “It still has cross-party political support and the government has spent too much money to stop now. It’s also worth bearing in mind that HS2 is about creating capacity on the existing rail network and unless the country goes into serious decline we will still need that capacity.”
While there is relative certainty about the new stations expected to open in Birmingham and Solihull in 2026 and Crewe in 2027 (see City hotspots box), timings and indeed even the location of stations for the second phase of HS2 are more open to question, though officially the Y-shaped route from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds is set to become operational in…