Politicians have been told to get behind the high speed rail link or risk costs spiralling out of control.
The chairman of HS2, Sir David Higgins, has published his first report on the project since he took up the role at the beginning of the year.
He's warned the £50 billion cost of the project will escalate if it gets bogged down in parliamentary infighting.Sir David has recommended bringing forward construction of the West Midlands to Manchester stretch of the line from a start date of 2026.
A spokesman for HS2 Action Alliance said that the Government's "need for a political legacy" has overcome the need for an improvement of existing rail services. Richard Houghton said:
Much has been made of the potential disruptions of upgrades to the WCML but of course the major upgrades have been done and the required developments to release capacity would be tiny in comparison.
Indeed the disruption in converting a First Class carriage to a standard one, or from train lengthening is nothing compared to rebuilding Euston and having several platforms out of use for eight years that HS2 requires.
But this pragmatic unsexy approach doesn't fit with the need for a political legacy that is so clear in the Government's increasingly strident defence of this white elephant.