HS2 might not reach Euston after all: Project will only go to central London with enough private funding

5 October 2023, 16:28

Rishi Sunak said on Wednesday that HS2 will reach Euston in central London
Rishi Sunak said on Wednesday that HS2 will reach Euston in central London. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

HS2 will not reach Euston unless the project receives enough private investment - despite Rishi Sunak guaranteeing the high-speed rail line will reach central London.

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HS2 will instead terminate at Old Oak Common in west London, if enough funding is not raised by private investors.

Nonetheless, the HS2 project to Euston has been scaled back, with the government cutting the number of platforms at Euston from 11 to six.

A pedestrian tunnel linking Euston station and Euston Square tube station will also now not go ahead.

It is estimated scaling back the plans at Euston would save more than £6bn, the Department for Transport has said.

Rishi Sunak said HS2 will reach central London in his keynote address at the Tory Party Conference on Wednesday
Rishi Sunak said HS2 will reach central London in his keynote address at the Tory Party Conference on Wednesday. Picture: Getty

But the entire project will not reach Euston at all without enough private investment.

It comes after Mr Sunak announced the northern leg of HS2 has been scrapped, meaning it will not reach Manchester.

Instead, the prime minister has pledged to transform transport in the north of England through plans dubbed 'Network North'.

Read More: Rishi Sunak filmed video cancelling HS2 days before Tory conference announcement - despite saying he'd not decided

Read More: Government backtracks on key transport pledge 24 hours after Sunak's 'Network North' promises

This includes by improving links by Liverpool and Manchester, though not through any high-speed rail links, as well as upgrading the West Midlands Metro in the Midlands.

The government had also promised to reopen the Leamside line, a disused railway line, located in the North East of England.

The rail line has been described as "the most important piece of infrastructure for the economic future of the North East" by activists campaigning for it to be reopened.

HS2 might not reach central London after all
HS2 might not reach central London after all. Picture: Getty

Just 24 hours after the government said it would reopen, it has dropped its commitment.

Roads minister Richard Holden has now said the government is only "committed to looking into it" - falling short of committing to reopen the rail line.

All reference to reopening the Leamside Line has been removed from the government's Network North website.

The prime minister has also been subject to criticism over the timing of the HS2 announcement after he refused to confirm all week whether its northern leg had been scrapped.

The prime minister had insisted on a number of occasions that no official decision had been taken, though footage posted to his official account on Thursday indicates the decision had been made several weeks ago.

The footage was seemingly taken inside Downing Street, but the prime minister had been in Manchester from Sunday for the Conservative Party Conference.

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