London’s ‘paused’ HS2 Euston station €2.5 billion over budget

Following the UK government’s decision to pause work on a number of elements of its huge High-Speed 2 (HS2) rail project, the country’s National Audit Office (NAO) has released a report, advising it to use the two-year ‘reset’ to put the construction of HS2 Euston station in London on “a more realistic and stable footing”.

An impression of the proposed redesign of HS2’s Euston station. Image: HS2

In April 2020, a budget of almost €3 billion was set for the station. Just two months later, the estimated cost of construction had rocketed to €5 billion.

At the end of 2020, the UK Department for Transport (DfT) called a halt to the project, instructing HS2 to look at amending the design, including a reduction in the number of platforms to 10 from 11.

At the time of the government reset, the estimated cost of the ‘reduced’ station had risen to around €450 million more than the last estimate on the original design.

In its report, the NAO warned that, while the two-year pause in construction work on the station will save money in the short term, it will ultimately raise the cost of the project, due to “costs associated with stopping and re-starting work, contractual changes, and managing the project for longer”.

Gareth Davies, head of the NAO said, “Clearly, the 2020 reset of the station design has not succeeded. DfT and HS2 Ltd have not been able to develop an affordable scope that is integrated with other activity at Euston, despite their focus on costs and governance since 2020. Recent high inflation has added to the challenge.”

In its report, the NAO recommends the DfT works with the Euston Partnership, HS2 Ltd, Network Rail, Lendlease6 and local partners to reassess the expectations for the HS2 Euston project, its budget, and the public benefits.

The NAO’s full report on the Euston station project can be read here.

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