HS2 timetable ‘overly ambitious’ and needs clarification, MPs say

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has said that the HS2 rail link needs a ‘realistic timetable’ if the new link is to be a success.

In a report, the committee said it was ‘not convinced’ that the first phase of the £56 million rail link, which will connect London and Birmingham, will open at the end of 2026 as scheduled.

The committee maintained that while there had been ‘considerable progress’ on HS2 since its last report on the project in 2013, further clarity was needed on the route and costs for the second phase, linking Manchester and Leeds.

Meg Hillier, committee chair, warned that both the parliament and the public remained ‘in the dark about crucial details’ regarding the line.

In particular, the route between Manchester and Leeds is yet to be identified with initial plans being delayed from publication. The details of the proposal were originally expected in 2014, but have been pushed back to the end of 2016.

Hillier said: "Lack of clarity over plans for HS2 in South Yorkshire highlights what is at stake for communities and local economies, and why government must explain its intentions and the basis for its decisions in a transparent manner.”