Posted 25th April 2023 | 4 Comments

Cost of HS2 Euston was unclear for years

HS2 Ltd chief executive Mark Thurston has admitted that the cost of building a new station alongside the existing London Euston terminus for high speed trains was not really known until last year.

The National Audit Office warned at the end of March that the existing budget of £2.6 billion was inadequate, and that the estimated cost now  stands at £4.8 billion.

More recently, work on the tunnel between Old Oak Common and Euston was ‘paused’ last week, although HS2 Ltd announced as recently as 12 April that work had started on building an 853m ‘logistics tunnel’ between Atlas Road North Acton and the Old Oak Common site to be used for the delivery of construction materials and the removal of waste from the main Euston running tunnels.

Speaking to the Commons Public Accounts Committee, Mr Thurston said the real costs of HS2 Euston were not clear for a long time, saying: ‘candidly, it was only until we got to the autumn of last year’ that the costs were fully understood.

Transport secretary Mark Harper had told the Transport Committee last week that a new delay at Euston could only increase the final bill.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Michael T., Reading

    Instead of lumping ALL aspects of a project of multiple parts into ONE... which always have the perception of being 'it costs Too Much!'...
    Separate the various aspect.
    GWR electrification had the 875million of Reading station as part of the total cost and thus was chopped with many sections not receiving OHLE!
    Ditto HS2. It should have been on the diagrammatic maps as being directly Adjacent to the WCML as it is a simple adding of a pair of Up/Down LGV / High Speed Rails to the WCML.
    The tunnels, viaducts, track bed, etc should be ONE project and priced accordingly.
    Each of the Stations: Euston, OOC, BHX, B'ham Curzon Street, EMA, Nottingham, Derby, Sheffield, Leeds, MCR, Manchester, all the way to Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley ... each as an Individual Project with it's own budget.
    The Rails, Sleepers, OHLE, Signalling, etc... as an individual Project.
    Then people would not see 3bn for GWR Electrification... TOO MUCH... Oxford and Bristol etc Axed. The largest part of the GWR electrification was Reading's New Station. It should never have been a part of the Electrification works.
    HS2... Euston, OOC... etc... should each be Stand Alone projects with a budget each. Then IF a we are again lumbered with a Cut Cut Cut tory government... it would be aspects of each that would be Pruned/Trimmed to fit their imaginary number they have plucked from the air.
    Things cost what they cost.
    When things are cut cut cut.... like the LizPurp line... it should go to more destinations with the Paddington Turn Back to be there for emergencies.
    All the trains passing through the central core should continue on to LHR, Reading, Tring, Oxford, Swindon, Newbury, and Basingstoke.
    The LizPurp should have the Western Access Cord less than 2km... so trains can go from Paddington, OOC, LHR East, LHR West, Slough, Reading service pattern. This would make Reading the railhead for all destinations west of Reading and those between Reading and Slough, the slough railhead (for local travellers and Workers).

  • david C Smith, Bletchley

    Something that may possibly be causing higher costs and drawn out timescales is the insistance on having high speed trainsets to a 225 / 250 mph performance standard and outsize loading guage. Possible routing options would be much easier if trains such as the existing Siemens Velaro 320 or Alstom AGV (?) could be the norm - speeds in excess of 200mph ( 320 kph) are just not really relevant for a country the size of GB.

    The WCML Pendolino's were an "off the peg" version of a design that was already at work on the continent. I find it highly unlikely that overspecified,
    HS2 trainsets , limited to HS lines ,are the most cost / effective way forward.

  • Michael T., Reading

    National Infrastructure Projects will cost what they cost...
    From the point of conception of the IDEA of adding a pair of Dedicated High Speed Railway tracks by-passing the London Metro Region (home counties plus) of the WCML to the start of ground breaking, to the completion of The Project... in the UK... Always takes THREE PLUS DECADES.
    Prices, costs, Brexshitastrophe destroying 1000+ years of development of Supply Chains...
    It will cost what it costs. Shut up and be asking... WHY does it take 33, 36+ years in UK for HS2 and all other National Infrastructure Projects when China can think, decide, construct, OPEN in under two to three years for 10s of 1000s of High Speed Railway Track!

  • John Porter, Leeds

    HS2 has admitted at last they have not got Euston right yet and they need to review the costly elements.
    That must include the Crossrail 2 elements. It is rumoured that will have entrances in both Euston & St Pancras stations.
    If so HS2 must ensure those entrances provide an underground pedestrian only route between HS1 & HS2, ideally with travelators as advance works wholly funded by HS2 to offset Crossrail 2’s rumoured ticketing and revenue protection concerns about such an arrangement.