By Ben Jones
HS2 Ltd has advised the Government the first phase of High Speed 2 to Birmingham could open five years later than planned in 2031, and the overall cost of the project could rise to £88billion.
Phase 2b to Manchester and Leeds has also been pushed back, with completion now expected in 2040 – seven years later than previously scheduled.
HS2’s original plan was for a staged rollout from December 2026, starting with three trains per hour (tph) in each direction between Old Oak Common and Birmingham Curzon Street, rising to 10tph between Euston and Birmingham a year later.
A revised ‘soft opening’ of Phase 1 between Old Oak Common and Curzon Street in 2029 is now recommended by HS2 Ltd, with Euston, Birmingham and destinations further north on the West Coast Main Line following in 2031.
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