HS2 announcements expected this week

Dear Stop HS2 Supporter, Since the General Election, it seems to have become obvious to everyone who lives in the real world, that there are so many far more important priorities for public spending than HS2. Unfortunately, this does not extend to the politicians pushing it through, as this week they are due to appoint consultants to produce final designs for Phase 1 from London to Birmingham; deposit a bill in Parliament for the Phase 2a extension to Crewe; and publish the final route for Phase 2b to Manchester and Leeds. This could be the worst possible time to be making these announcements, as a report commissioned by the Department for Transport has concluded HS2 would probably cost exactly twice the current budget. Michael Byng, who had been contracted by Network Rail to rewrite the book on estimating the costs of rail project has concluded that building HS2 would cost £104bn, and with trains about another £7bn, the overall cost would be £111bn, double the current £55.7bn official budget. What all this means is that there is going be a lot of interest about HS2 this week, so we would very much hope you will be able to join us on social media over the next couple of days, and spreading the word that the cost has now been estimated at double the official cost would be a great place to start stophs2.org/news/17138-hs2-cost-double-111bn-dft-estimate Please keep an eye on our website , facebook page and twitter accounts, and if you have any suggestions for images which are easily shared, we’d love to hear from you. What to expect this week From what we have been able to gather, the Phase 2b announcement which is due this week is likely to recommend the route as it was amended last year, whilst we do not know if the Phase 2a Bill which is to be deposited will include the mythical Crewe station. The other announcement expected soon is the appointment of contractors to come up with the final design for Phase 1. The fact that these final designs are not due for about another 18 months destroys both the idea that the costs of HS2 are reliable, and the bizarre recent insistence from HS2 Ltd that construction is not two years late, but because the rebranded enabling works have started, it is on time. Other developments Of course, the news that the cost of HS2 has been estimated at £111bn is not the only bad news for the project. Since our last update, the Institute for Government has cited HS2 as the perfect example of how the UK Government gets projects wrong, more MPs including a Government Minister and a former Labour Transport Secretary have come out against HS2, and of course we’ve been told that those secret reports into the true state of affairs at HS2 Ltd are going to stay secret. So just the usual really! Penny, Joe and Rae

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