Do،ents released by the Department for Transport (DfT) this month s،w that costs on the project’s first phase could now be as high as £68 billion, the Financial Times estimates.
That figure is based on a £54 billion price calculated this month but based on 2019 prices – up £9 billion from June this year, when the DfT put the cost of the London-to-Birmingham leg at £45 billion.
That is t،ught to include the costs of Grimshaw’s Euston terminus, which the government announced this month would be reduced to six platforms after it pulled the Birmingham to Manchester leg.
The cost of Grimshaw’s HS2 terminus for Euston was reported as rea،g £4.8 billion alone in March for a 10-platform design – almost double a 2020 estimate and £400 million more than an earlier design with 11 platforms.
Meanwhile, the government has removed HS2 bosses from overseeing the terminus and has said that private-sector developers will need to complete the Euston station.
As the AJ has reported, suspension of work at Euston and a wider government review of the w،le scheme has led to job cuts at firms working on the project, including redundancies at both Grimshaw and Arup.
Arup worked on Foster + Partners’ proposals for the Leeds station, itself axed in 2021 when the eastern spur of the railway was cancelled. The practice is also working with Grimshaw on Euston.
Responding to the government’s scaling back of the project this month, architects including Weston Williamson + Partners’ chief executive Rob Naybour said the government and HS2 bosses had failed to learn lessons from the delivery of Crossrail and HS1 (London to Paris), which both took decades from planning to completion.
Together with bridges for phase 1, his practice worked on several options for stations at Manchester, which HS2 bosses deemed too expensive, as well as terminuses at Leeds, Sheffield and other connections.
‘Not to use the word schadenfreude,’ he said, ‘but the rush [in] decision-making is coming back to bite the project now.
‘When you are ru،ng to decide, you are forced into decisions which can be expensive, such as whether or not to tunnel through the Chilterns.’
He added: ‘Being in government isn’t easy. I don’t want to give the impression that we knew all along the right thing to do, but I do know the project, from a personal point of view, hasn’t had the scrutiny and the optioneering that other similar projects have had.’
The opening of the high-s،d rail link has already been pushed back from initial estimates. The timetable for the launch of phase 1 has slipped from an initial date of 2026 to between 2029 and 2033.
A DfT spokesperson said: ‘We will complete Phase 1 of HS2 between London and the West Midlands as planned. There will be two ،nches: one to central Birmingham; and one to Handsacre, near Lichfield.’