views - HS2 phase 1 image - provided by HS2 Ltd

Ministers have agreed to delay the second of HS2 between Crewe and Birmingham amid soaring costs for the controversial high speed railway.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said they will now prioritise the opening section, which means the completion and opening of Phase 2a to Crewe could be delayed by up to two years.

This means 2036 that section may not be open now until around 2036.

Crewe & Nantwich MP Kieran Mullan said after the announcement that they could not ignore rising construction costs and inflation, but it would still be worth the wait.

Dr Mullan added: “I want everyone to remember the difference this investment is going to make to Crewe.

“We have won the contract for building HS2 train bogies at Crewe Works.

“We will be back in the business of making trains again for the first time in decades.

“HS2 is securing jobs and bringing investment, construction is well underway. Do I want it to come sooner? Of course I do.

“But let’s keep our eyes on the prize. The investment is still coming. I can live with two years later when there were so many people calling for it to be cancelled.

“Constructions costs have gone up because of inflation and we can’t ignore that.

“This remains a generational investment and its impact will be huge over many decades, levelling up Crewe and the whole region.”

But Lord McLoughlin, Chair of Transport for the North, said: “This is a disappointing announcement.

“But I was reassured by the Transport Secretary that we are still getting HS2 to Manchester, and the recommitment to NPR is welcome.

“However, it needs to be understood whether or not these cost savings can be realised while still achieving the same desired outcome and conditional outputs.

“The government needs to avoid being penny wise and pound foolish, as delays don’t necessarily lead to savings, and in fact can drive costs upwards.

“Nevertheless, the political leaders of the North who sit on our Board have made their collective position very clear – we must transform the North by building both HS2 and NPR in full.

“Taken together, both projects unlock the North’s economy from the existing position of poor infrastructure that has held it back.

“It is the communities and businesses across the North of England who are suffering most by any delay or inaction in delivering on these schemes.”

Transport Secretary Mr Harper said: “We know the power of transport as an engine for sustainable economic growth.

“That’s why – even in this tough economic climate – this Government sees transport investment as a down payment on the country’s future and is committing £20bn over each of the next two years to improve the UK’s transport network.

“But we can’t ignore the current realities. Putin’s war in Ukraine has hiked up inflation, sending supply chain costs rocketing.

“The responsible decisions I’ve outlined today will ensure we balance the budget at the same time as investing record sums in our transport network to help halve inflation, grow the economy and reduce debt.”


  1. HS2 is intended to.improve capacity and relieve the pressures on key motorway arteries, which remains valid. No amount of money will improve the NHS. This needs a complete overhaul, top to bottom. While nothing can improve Leighton Hospital!

  2. This was the plan from the beginning, make sure the south gets started to a point where it can’t be cancelled then postpone it till after the next general election, that way its up to Labour to finish or cancel the scheme and the Tories can use either as ammunition against them depending on the outcome.

  3. We will soon have our own north and South Korea this rate

  4. Chris Moorhouse says:

    On another local news site I asked “what will our MP say OR not say”? He has just followed the party line and not stood up for Crewe and the North.
    Let us see what happens to him next year.

  5. Cynical Syd says:

    HS2 is not required and is already massively over budget. Initial talk was £33bn but that has already increased to £71bn…!

    Post Covid, work patterns have changed as well as the number of commuters and rail passengers which will never return to pre pandemic levels, so as we as being late and massively over budget, the HS2 money should be better spent on hospitals and health care.

  6. Levelling down , who would have thought it, lack of significant investment in the north of England continues as the divide with south widens

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