Auditors are concerned that spiralling costs could see HS2 invoice the taxpayer for £106bn or the equivalent of a ‘Family Return to Crawley’. The controversial London to Birmingham line has taken over four years, with no end in sight – which is an accurate description of the current journey.
Currently the project employs 9,000 people; 8,999 marketing executives to come up with the brand-name ‘HS2’ and ‘one bloke with a shovel’ to do the rest. The end build promises 345 miles of new high-speed track and 345 miles of snail speed ticket queues.
It is already £32.7bn over its original budget, although that is hardly surprising, as they purchased a filter coffee from the buffet cart. Science Fiction promised us a Moonbase by 1999, trips to Jupiter in 2001 and Brexit by 2020. Whereas as Network Rail has guaranteed toilets that flush, by 2077.
Meanwhile Southern Rail denied their season tickets cost an arm and leg, citing their recent 50% reduction, to that of just a leg. The construction industry has warned about the difficulties of project cancellation. One commuter commented: ‘Why not just put leaves on the line?’