The Government has yet to make a convincing case as to why the £50 billion HS2 high-speed rail project is necessary, according to a highly-critical report by a House of Lords committee.
There are less-expensive options than HS2 for solving overcrowding on the railways but these have not been properly reviewed, the Lords Economic Affairs Committee said.
In its report, the committee said there was a strong case for improving the trans-Pennine links (the so-called HS3 option) or building the second phase of HS2 first.
The first phase of HS2, from London to Birmingham, is due to open in 2026, with a second Y-shaped phase to Manchester and Leeds due for completion around 2032/33, although this date might be brought forward.
The chairman of the committee, Lord Hollick said, the high speed rail link was supposed to rebalance the economy but it is London rather than the North or the Midlands that is likely to be benefit most from HS2:
A Department for Transport spokesperson defended the project and said it is crucial they press ahead with delivering the rail line on time and budget:
As currently planned the high speed rail network will be one of the most expensive infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the UK.