Cancelling HS2 is only the start of the Conservatives’ Great Train Robbery

Ditching the Birmingham-to-Manchester leg of HS2 will give embattled Tories a chance to cheer about cost savings – but rail improvements across the North can’t be delivered without it, writes Christian Wolmar

Wednesday 04 October 2023 13:16 BST
<p>HS2 will stand as a permanent reminder of Tory incompetence</p>

HS2 will stand as a permanent reminder of Tory incompetence

Once Rishi Sunak confirms the cancellation of the northern leg of HS2, the high-speed rail line will stand as a permanent and embarrassing monument to British failure.

With as much as £28bn now spent and probably the same amount again needed to finish it, HS2 – a project first proposed in 2008 – remains shrouded in mystery. It may or may not run from Euston. It could end up as a stub of a line linking an unknown suburb of west London with a station a mile from Birmingham city centre. Dubbed the Acton to Aston shuttle, it will attract few users.

A half-built HS2 deserves to reign supreme as by far the worst of the many planning disasters that have resulted in widespread public cynicism about the very nature of our democratic system.

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