Cost of building HS2 railway station at London Euston soars to £4.8billion trends now
The estimated cost of the troubled new High Speed Two railway station at London Euston has nearly doubled in three years to £4.8billion, a report found today.
Construction of the 10-platform London terminus was budgeted by HS2 Ltd at £2.6billion as recently as April 2020, but this has now soared by £2.2billion.
An original two-part design was paused in 2020, before it was redesigned in October 2021 for Euston to have ten platforms instead of 11 and be built in one stage only.
But the National Audit Office has now concluded that 'the 2020 reset of the station design has not succeeded', adding that recent high inflation has also caused issues.
It comes after Michael Gove yesterday refused to guarantee HS2 will terminate at Euston, saying he did not know where the final London destination would be.
The Levelling-Up Secretary said there was a 'debate' about whether it should be Euston or Old Oak Common, a new £1.7billion 14-platform station planned for Acton.
The line is set to cut London-Birmingham journeys to 52 minutes, but HS2 is now not set to get to Euston until 2041 at the earliest, having initially been planned for 2026.
Some £1.5billion has already been spent on land purchases and preparatory works for Euston and its approaches. The overall HS2 project is estimated at £100billion.
The delays are now far more serious than those to Crossrail, which was initially set to open in 2017 - but will finally start a full service in May and is £4billion over budget.
An aerial view of the HS2 London Euston station construction site, pictured in August last year
An artist's impression from HS2 of the interior of the new Euston Station, looking to the south
A computer-generated image issued by HS2 of the exterior of HS2 Euston railway station
The NAO said today that delays linking up HS2 and Euston will mean extra costs and potentially even higher spending.
A near 50-page report, looking specifically at the Euston element of the much delayed high-speed line, concluded that a 'reset' in 2020 had 'not succeeded'.
The Government announced earlier this month that it will prioritise having initial HS2 services running by 2033 between Old Oak Common and Birmingham Curzon Street as part of measures designed to cut costs.
The Government also announced that the construction of the Birmingham to Crewe leg of HS2 would be delayed by two years.
Presented as cost-saving measures amid high inflation, the changes are set to see services not stopping in Euston for years to come, with passengers expected instead travel for half an hour on the Elizabeth line.
But the NAO warned while the postponement may allow the Department of Transport to move the Euston end of the project to a 'more stable footing', 'the deferral of spending to manage inflationary pressures will lead to additional costs and potentially to higher spend overall for the project that will need to be managed closely'.
It said that latest estimate by HS2 Ltd set the cost for the 10-platform design at Euston at £4.8billion.
A map shows the planned route for High Speed Two which is split into a series of phases
This graph shows how the cost estimate for the HS2 Euston station has changed since 2020
Plans for the Euston site and the approach route for High Speed Two are shown in this map
'A successful reset will need DfT and HS2 Ltd to have a clear understanding of the costs, risks and benefits of their chosen design for the HS2 station within the wider Euston programme, supported by a realistic budget, clear and effective governance and integration arrangements, and long-term certainty on the scope of the project,' the report warned.
The NAO said that it has not yet been show that 'the conditions are in place to secure value for money'.
The report found that by the end of December 2022, HS2 Ltd had spent more than £2 billion on the