Gove ‘doesn’t know’ whether HS2 Euston will ever be built

Levelling up secretary Michael Gove has admitted he does not know if the HS2 Euston station will ever be built.

HS2 was approved by government 11 years ago and to date £458m of public money has been spent on its plans for the Euston station. Contractor Mace-Dragados is managing construction of the site, having started early works in January and sought suppliers for more than £500m of work last year.

However, earlier this month the government announced plans to pause construction of HS2 Euston so it coincides with phase 2b – meaning another two-year delay on the mega-project. It comes as the National Audit Office (NAO) warned that the station’s projected cost had increased by £2.2bn.

Now Gove has hinted that the station may never be built.

Speaking on Channel 4’s The Andrew Neil Show, the senior minister said: “I don’t know what the final decision will be about where the [London] terminus is.

“There is a debate on whether it will be Old Oak Common or Euston.”

However, Gove guaranteed that the project would be extended from Birmingham to Manchester via Crewe, adding: “We’re committed to making sure that that vital piece of infrastructure [HS2] that adds capacity to the rail network will be delivered.”

The comments throw further uncertainty over the future of HS2 Euston, after both NAO chief Gareth Davies and Public Accounts Committee chair Meg Hillier suggested that the current station’s plans are untenable due to their cost.

HS2 has already redesigned its plans for the Euston station once, cutting the number of platforms from 11 to 10. The NAO concluded that the redesign “has not succeeded and further action is now required to develop an affordable and viable station”.

Elsewhere in the Channel 4 interview, Gove declined to say whether HS2 would ever be extended to Leeds, adding: “One of the things we’ve had to do with HS2 is we’ve had to cut according to our cloth.”

Leave a comment