Construction progress at Old Oak Common in Ealing in September HS p HS

Construction is underway to make an HS2 station at Old Oak Common, which had been rumoured to be the final southern terminus for HS2. Credit: via HS2

HS2 will go to Central London says Hunt

After a morning of silence, the chancellor refuted rumours that the high-speed rail network would terminate at Old Oak Common, five miles away from the city centre.

Regarding HS2, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt told reporters: “I don’t see any conceivable circumstance in which that would not end up at Euston”.

His reaffirmation of commitment to High Speed 2 comes after a stressful morning for transport advocates in the North.

The Sun reported last night that inflation and growing costs had led the government to flirt with either ditching a Euston terminus for High Speed 2 or pushing it back to 2038.

If HS2 had ended at Old Oak Common in Ealing, those wishing to go into Central London would have had to catch the Tube or the Elizabeth Line to continue their journey.

Hunt’s words imply that The Sun’s report was just rumour.

When HS2 was announced, it was meant to provide a new high-speed rail line linking Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, and London. Since then, the Leeds leg has been scrapped and plans for an overground station in Manchester have been met with criticism.

The goal of HS2 is to increase capacity on the rail network as well as to reduce journey times for those traveling between the cities. Freeing up capacity would allow for more freight travel on the rails, helping move HGVs off the motorways.

That initial rumour that the Central London connection would be scrapped was met with frustration, with a spokesperson from transport advocacy organisation High Speed Rail Group calling it the “height of folly”.

They also emphasised the impracticality of the project.

“Old Oak Common station has nowhere near enough platforms to serve as the London terminus,” they said. “Indeed, if it was, there would only be enough capacity to allow London-Birmingham shuttle services on HS2.

“In very simple terms, if Old Oak Common is the terminus, you cannot have HS2 services reaching Manchester. If you cut off Euston, you also cut off Manchester and the rest of the North.”

Henri Murison, chief executive of The Northern Powerhouse Partnership, had maintained disbelief that any cancellation of a Euston terminus had come from Hunt.

“I struggle to believe that Jeremy Hunt, a longstanding advocate for HS2, would ever support such a nonsensical plan,” Murison said at the time.

“The problem with whittling down major infrastructure projects such as HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail is that the new, cheaper versions do not deliver the productivity transformation we were promised and, ironically, are less good value for money.

“It’s a false economy, and there are more sensible ways to address the issue of inflation in costs – which is occurring across all major construction projects.”

Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram also weighed in this morning, tweeting: “If a project that is meant to improve connectivity between the North and Central London doesn’t go to either of those places then it doesn’t make a lot of sense at any price”.

Anna Wrigglesworth, director of UK North at political consultancy C|T Group, was also sceptical of the rumour, describing how a full HS2 delivery had been a priority for the government.

In his autumn statement, Jeremy Hunt reaffirmed his commitment to it,” she said. “The North’s political leadership and business community are firmly behind it. My reading of it is, there are a few of the usual out-of-touch suspects playing games to derail this major infrastructure project.

“Let us not be distracted and remind ourselves that only with HS2 can we increase capacity and address the real-life challenges we face. Yes, HS2 will be economically transformative, taking our freight off the roads, but it will also mean better connectivity and pride for us,” she said.

Your Comments

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Very little point in HS2 from a time perspective (obviously capacity is a different argument) if it doesn’t go to central London as once you change in west London any time saving would have been completely lost

By Tomo

They responded to an article in The Sun ? That must be some heavy weight Newspaper with some great journalistic integrity behind it. Either that or smoke and mirrors. I’m going for the latter.

By Anonymous

    For context, when the government did not deny the rumours, the story was picked up by The Guardian, BBC, Independent, and a slew of other publications. Was all over the morning programmes. – J

    By Julia Hatmaker

This will be a job for the Starmer government, so Hunt’s comments are irrelevant.

By Elephant

If this government says it definitely will, it definitely won’t.

By Unlevelled for balance

Lets not forget Liverpool and Bradford were involved in HS2 plans as well. It’s not all about Manchester and London. I’m surprised Leeds got a mention. It’s great we’re having meetings to try and improve the North but it seems the focus is always on Manchester and I’m sick of it. If you want to involve the entire north, include all Northern Cities., not just Manchester.

By Anonymous

Waste of money


Billions, Billions and Billions have already been spent on this white elephant.
Just to get from Manchester to London direct in a hour, currently two hours. Absolutely no need.

By Darren Born and Bred.

That’s because Manchester is willing to build things. If other places aren’t, there’s no development news to report in those places…

By Don't be bitter

Why Manchester though

By Anonymous

Have always thought that HS2 should concentrate on pushing up to Scotland rather than going direct to Mcr, instead the NPR project should take equal priority here to run East-West,coast to coast, across the North and intersect maybe at Mcr airport or perhaps Warrington/Wigan if possible, so as to allow high-speed links to all major Northern cities.

By Anonymous

To be honest, it felt like a nonsense story fabricated by a friendly pro govt paper in order to distract from the other issues at the moment. Didn’t work…

By Disgruntled Goat

As usual Rotheram misses the opportunity to mention that Liverpool`s benefits from HS2 are minimal, not even getting full high-speed lines into Liverpool and by the look of it we get no new station but just a little corner of Lime Street re-configured to take 200 metre HS trains.
As far as Old Oak common is concerned you`d think it was a backwater but it`s not , as besides the Elizabeth Line there`s other tube lines that link up with large swathes of London.

By Anonymous

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