HS2 project condemned by MPs

An influential group of MPs says the DfT has failed to present 'a convincing strategic case' for HS2.

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New steam engine 'blessed' at Arboretum

The 'blessing' ceremony Credit: ITV News Central

'The Unknown Warrior', an LMS Patriot class steam locomotive under construction as a memorial to the fallen, has been 'blessed' at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

Members of the Army, Navy and RAF were present, alongside the company behind the engine, organisers of the Warley National Model Railway exhibition, and rail enthusiasts from the general public.

The locomotive in front of the memorial Credit: ITV News Central

'The Unknown Warrior' arrives in the Midlands

A steam locomotive, mostly built in the Midlands, has arrived at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to be dedicated.

The engine, named 'The Unknown Warrior', has still not been completed, but it has travelled on a lorry from Wales, where it was assembled.

'The Unknown Warrior' arriving at the ceremony Credit: ITV News Central

The locomotive is to be the only LMS Patriot class engine in existence, after none of the originals was saved.

It is now to travel to Birmingham's NEC, to take centre stage at this weekend's Warley National Model Railway Exhibition.

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Benefits for HS2 dwindling say MPs - full report

by Alison Mackenzie

In a scathing attack MPs have criticised the government's plans for HS2 - the High speed rail line linking the East Midlands with London and the North.

The reports findings say that as the costs continue to spiral the proposed economic benefits for cities like Nottingham, Derby and Leicester are fading. Our political correspondent Alison Mackenzie reports.

Margaret Hodge: 'HS2 economic justification is very questionable'

Margaret Hodge MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, has said the economic justification for HS2 is "very questionable".

It comes as the Committee of Public Accounts issued a withering assessment of the HS2 high-speed rail project, warning costs were spiralling whilst benefits were dwindling.

The Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, said the case for the £50 billion project was "absolutely clear," as rail routes would be "overwhelmed" by rising passenger numbers.

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MPs call for more evidence to back HS2 investment

MPs from the Commons public accounts committee have called for the Department of Transport to provide more detailed evidence to support the estimated £50 billion investment. Presenting the committee's findings, chairperson Marget Hodge said:

The pattern so far has been for costs to spiral - from more than £16 billion to £21 billion plus for phase one - and the estimated benefits to dwindle.

In my committee's experience, not allowing enough time for preparation undermines projects from the start.

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Transport Secretary: Case for HS2 'absolutely clear'

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has rejected the findings of the Commons public accounts committee, which criticised the costs and benefits of the HS2 high-speed rail network.

Read: Public spending watchdog attacks HS2 rail project

Mr McLoughlin said without HS2 key rail routes would be 'overwhelmed' by rising passenger numbers. Credit: Press Association.

Mr McLoughlin said the case for the £50 billion project was "absolutely clear," as rail routes would be "overwhelmed" by rising passenger numbers. He said:

"The project will free up vital space on our railways for passengers and freight, generate hundreds of thousands of jobs and deliver better connections between our towns and cities.

"HS2 is a vital part of our plan to give Britain the transport infrastructure it needs to compete.

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HS2 'based on fragile numbers and out-of-date info'

The Commons public accounts committee has issued a withering assessment of the HS2 high-speed rail project, warning costs were spiralling whilst benefits were dwindling.

The committee said the case for the £50 billion project was based on "fragile numbers, out-of-date data and assumptions which do not reflect real life" with no evidence it would aid regional economies not simply "suck" even more activity into London.

It has demanded an urgent explanation of how quickly the Department of Transport could plug the "significant" gaps in the commercial and major project expertise in its teams.

More: Business chiefs slam HS2 'folly'

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