Berkeley floors DfT over HS2
The DfT is still unable to quantify how much capacity HS2 will free up on the West Coast Main Line (WCML) when it opens.
The startling admission was made in the House of Lords by the Under Secretary of State for Transport, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon. In response to a question from Lord Berkeley regarding the number of train paths per hour HS2 would release on the WCML, Ahmad could only say:
“HS2 Phase 1 will add significant capacity to the West Midlands rail corridor,” but he was unable to be more specific.
Creating additional capacity is one of the core arguments for building HS2.
In response to another HS2 question from Berkeley, Ahmad said the total costs of fees, facilitation costs and enabling works since 2010 was £976.3m. The figures for 2015/16 are not yet available, but he gave the breakdown for the previous years: £9.43m (2009/10); £24.3m (2010/11); £54.0m (2011/12); £207.6m (2012/13); £318.6m (2013/14); and £362.7m (2014/15).
The reply did not clarify whether these were at current or historic cost levels, or included all the costs associated with HS2. A previous parliamentary reply in May put the cost of HS2 since 2009/10 at £1.4bn.