The government's transport secretary has hinted that the decision to rubber-stamp the build of HS2 could come at a cost for the more northern sections of the line, which may end up being built to a lower spec that would reduce overall speeds.
This, transport secretary Grant Shapps said, is because certain sections of the line have been designed with a higher specification than is really required, in order to hit certain journey time reduction targets. These are too ambitious, Shapps says, and there's a trade off to be made in adding a few minutes to total times and calming speeds a little in order to perhaps shave some billions off the spiralling build cost.
Shapps told the BBC he believes there's been some "over-specification" in current designs for tracks north of Birmingham, adding that planners have been guilty of adding "...gold plating to this project and the obsession with getting time off the journey" so we can say we're spending upwards of £100bn for good reason and may up with one bit of track that's world class at the end of it all. [Guardian]