Building’s recap of everything that has happened since HS2 was launched in 2009

HS2 Curzon Street station - Grimshaws (5)

Source: Grimshaws

HS2 has been a controversial project from its inception, with the £56bn project now officially under review.

The official line about the scheme’s future has remained positive, despite a number of calls to either scrap or alter its scope.

With the main construction works set to ramp up later this year despite a legal challenge, and first services not expected to start running to 2026, there is plenty of news still to come in the ongoing story of HS2.

What is the HS2 route?

Phase 1 of the project is the section of the HS2 line that will connect London and Birmingham, with stations at Euston and Old Oak Common in the capital and Interchange station near Birmingham airport and Curzon Street in the heart of the UK’s second largest city.

Phase 2a will connect the West Midlands and Crewe, while Phase 2b of the will build the lines that run between Crewe and Manchester and the West Midlands and Leeds.

When will HS2 be finished?

The official schedule for HS2 has Phase 1 of the project opening in 2026. Phase 2a is then due to be finished in 2027, with the full line to Manchester and Leeds due to be open by 2033.

A review carried out by HS2 chair Allan Cook has found that that timeline is unrealistic, with the man in charge of the scheme saying that it could be up to seven years behind schedule.

He said that phase one will be finished between 2028-2031 while the entire project would be completed sometime between 2035-2040.

>> Analysis: Is the future of HS2 at risk?
>> Analysis: What else is blocking HS2?

How much will HS2 cost?

The official funding envelope of HS2 still sits at £56bn but Cook’s review of the project has found the true cost of the project is set to be between £81bn and £88bn.

Cook said the original costing process for the project, which was carried out in 2015, did not include scrutiny of ground conditions and other elements of the phase 1 scope.

He said: “The funding at [the 2015 spending review] took into account estimates based on initial client estimates derived from desktop drawings for the hybrid bill and without the benefit of any investigation of ground conditions or similar levels of detail across all areas of scope,” he said.

What is the Oakervee review of HS2?

Doug Oakervee, who was previously the chair of HS2, has been put in charge of a review of the project promised by Boris Johnson before he became prime minister.

The review, which officially started in August, is set to inform the government’s decision about whether or not it should stick with the project.

Some of the other options being considered in the review are whether the line should terminate at Old Oak Common rather than Euston and whether to reduce the line’s speed in order to make sure costs don’t rocket further.

Oakervee’s report was originally due to land on transport secretary Grant Shapps’ desk by the end of November but has been delayed by purdah and the general election.

HS2 timeline

12 November 2019: A leak to the Times says former HS2 chair Doug Oakervee has concluded the scheme should go ahead in full, connecting London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

It also found in favour of London Euston, with Oakervee favouring the central London station as the capital’s terminus, rather than Old Oak Common in the west.

23 September 2019: HS2 announces chief operating officer Richard Robinson is leaving less than a year after starting at the firm

3 September 2019: HS2 chair Allan Cook’s “stocktake” review of the project is revealed. The project could cost up to £80bn and be seven years late

28 August 2019: Bechtel decides to pull its opposition to HS2 signing a deal with a Balfour Beatty team after being told it could be liable for a compensation claim

21 August 2019: Doug Oakervee’s review of the project is officially launched

9 August 2019: HS2 confirms it is restarting the procurement process for two more jobs

11 July 2019: HS2 scraps the process to find a contractor to build a £435m station in the middle of Birmingham

10 July 2019: A transport minister confirms HS2 chair Allan Cook is carrying out a review of the project

26 June 2019: HS2 phase one boss Jim Crawford leaves

22 February 2019 - Bechtel launches legal action against HS2 after missing out on the £1.1bn contract to build Old Oak Common station.

6 February 2019 - HS2 announces the deals to build its London stations at Euston and Old Oak Common have gone to bids led by Mace and Balfour Beatty.

16 January 2019 - The appointment of contractors to build the HS2 stations at Euston and Old Oak Common is officially pushed back.

14 January 2019 - HS2 boss Mark Thurston suggests time and cost saving measures

5 December 2018 - Sir Terry Morgan is officially ousted from his roles at both Crossrail and HS2 

13 July 2018 - Transport secretary Chris Grayling announces the appointment of then-Crossrail chair Sir Terry Morgan as the new chairman for HS2.

23 February 2018 - Lendlease is chosen by HS2 as master development partner on the £4bn redevelopment of the area around Euston station

2 February 2018 - HS2 picks architects, designers and engineers for Phase 1 stations

23 February 2017 - The High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Act 2017 receives royal assent.

19 October 2016 - HS2 names CH2M boss Roy Hill as interim CEO

12 September 2016 - HS2 CEO Simon Kirby quits for a new role at Rolls-Royce

28 June 2016 - National Audit Office says HS2 cost has ballooned well over £55.7bn budget while first phase could open 12 months late.

29 April 2014 - HS2 passes through Commons with a vast majority. The scheme cleared its second reading in parliament by 411 votes.

17 January 2014 - HS2 appoints a new chief executive, confirming Network Rail infrastructure boss Simon Kirby will take the top job.

1 November 2013 - MPs approve HS2 funding bill

26 June 2013 - HS2’s budget swells by nearly £10bn to £42.6bn.

28 January 2013 - The government unveils the preferred route for HS2 north of Birmingham

Early 2009 - HS2 Ltd set up to assess the case for a second high-speed line