The former Brexit secretary David Davis, as well as former transport minister John Spellar, have both made their feelings known about the HS2 rail scheme, claiming that it should be scrapped. The scheme has been labelled as a white elephant and they believe that the plug should be pulled on it. Mr Davis highlighted the fact that every train in the UK could be replaced using half the money that has been spent on Hs2.
During transport questions in the Commons Mr Davis made it known that the minister is well aware of the fact that every piece of rolling stock in the country could be replaced and so, he asked why hasn’t the scheme been cancelled in order to give the public what they want. The reply to this from Rail Minister Andrew Jones was that Hs2 is giving the public what they want and he continued to defend the scheme.
There were also calls from Mr Spellar who called on the minister to drop the scheme as it is not hitting budgets and costing a significant amount of money at the same time. He made it clear that the last government carried out an authoritative transport study that made a clear case against the scheme and project such as this and that it called for widespread, incremental improvements. He posed the question that wouldn’t it be better to use the fund to improve rolling stock while also carrying out other transport improvements by scrapping the ever more expensive HS2? However, Andrew Jones made it clear that it isn’t a question of choosing one or the other but also stated that HS2 is all about increasing capacity while also carrying out enhancements and maintenance.
The first phase of the scheme, costing 56 billion will open in December 2026 and will link London and Birmingham before being extended to Crewe, Manchester and Leeds. The trains are designed to work at a speed of 225mph and will also serve locations on existing mainline networks including Liverpool, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow. However, there could be a reduction in the speed of trains as well as the frequency in order to cut costs.