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HS2 projected cost rises by £10bn

HS2 projected cost rises by £10bn
The government's flagship HS2 railway project is expected to cost £10 billion more than previously estimated.

Speaking in the House of Commons, transport minister Patrick McLoughlin explained that the new projected cost of the development nows stands at £42.6 billion. This represented an increase of a third from the previous estimate of £33 billion and is said to include "contingency" money.

The announcement was made as MPs debated the second reading of the High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill which will give the Department for Transport the go-ahead to start the development. A bid to quash the plans was defeated by 325 to 37 votes and the railway will still go ahead. Mr McLoughlin explained that the first phase budget is now £21.4 billion with phase two coming in at £21.2 billion with a contingency fund adding a further £14.4 billion.

Additional costs will be needed to cover the alterations to the route as well as the creation of a tunnel under the M6 at Birmingham. All the funds are based on 2011 prices and do not take into account rolling stock which is expected to cost £7.5 billion meaning that at 2013 prices it could amount to £53 billion.

Mr McLoughlin told MPs: "While I expect the final costs to be lower than those I have just outlined... this is the right way to plan the project."

The purpose of HS2 is reduce journey times between London and the north of England. The first link will connect the capital to Birmingham and will be operational by 2026. Plans are then in place to branch out to Manchester and Leeds, via Sheffield, by 2032. However, the route has under fire from residents living in rural places where it will pass through.

Under the arrangements there will need to be a significant upgrade of London Euston station while there will also be the creation of a new dedicated station in Leeds and Sheffield Meadowhall. The East Midlands will also be included with a new facility located at Toton in between Nottingham and Derby.

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Date: 27/06/2013 12:44:15

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