One thing that is clear from looking at the recent news about HS2: its hard to find any paper (outside the specialist railway industry) with any enthusiasm for it. George Osborne wrote in the Financial Times that he wanted HS3 built and that HS2 should be designed with connections to it in place (but the summer 2015 budget when he was Chancellor only included HS3 in the glossary). A glowing article in the Yorkshire Post was written by HS2 Ltd’s (interim) Phase 2 managing director, but beyond that few people find any merit in the scheme.
More telling is what the Evening Standard published in July. The article, by Simon Jenkins, is called “It’s not too late to make HS2 somehow work for London“.
“…For some time, smart money in HS2 circles has been on the line stopping at Old Oak Common, at least “temporarily”. A transport minister, Robert Goodwill, even floated this idea last year. The same is the view of HS2’s creator, Labour’s Lord Adonis, who is flatly against Euston. Successive plans for a new station have been submitted to Camden council and then withdrawn, showing how impossible it is to squeeze a quart into a pint bottle. Either way, choosing Euston will mean a decade of chaos.”
Jenkins goes on to say that Old Oak Common would be a better place to terminate HS2, saying “an inter-city terminus would be a natural. It would be smart planning.”
One would think that George Osborne probably had more influence when he was Chancellor of making major changes to the HS2 plans then now is the editor of the Evening Standard. But by publishing an article that says that 10% of the HS2 cost could be saved by stopping at a different station suggests that he thinks that the project may be at risk due to its high costs.
(Meanwhile, as well as on Euston, Adonis has also changed his mind on University tuition fees, which he also introduced.)
Maybe we should let the last word go to Jenkins:
“At a time of austerity, it should be easy to persuade politicians not to waste public money. Why, when the sums are so gargantuan, is it so hard?”