HS2 chairman expects ‘to be sacked within days’

Sir Terry Morgan, the chairman of HS2, could be ousted from his post.
Sir Terry Morgan, the chairman of HS2, could be ousted from his post.

The chairman of the HS2 rail project, which is set to come through Sheffield and Doncaster, says he ‘expects to be sacked within days’.

Sir Terry Morgan, who also chairs London's delayed £15bn Crossrail project, started work at HS2 in August.

He told Radio 4's PM there was disappointment at Westminster about the delays that had hit Crossrail.

It follows reports that Sir Terry is expected to leave both jobs after a series of recent disclosures about problems at the projects raised doubts about his performance. 

This has prompted fears of potential cuts to infrastructure spending from unions and criticism from the Stop HS2 Campaign who branded HS2 as ‘a mess, it's always been a mess’. 

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Sir Terry was hailed as "world-class" when he was appointed by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.

Downing Street, the Department for Transport and HS2 declined to comment.

A Transport Department spokesman said it "did not comment on speculation nor on personnel matters."

Reacting to the reports, unions warned of cuts to spending on rail projects.

The new high-speed rail service, running from London to Leeds and Manchester, is scheduled for completion in 2033 at an estimated cost of £56 billion. 

Sheffield will be served by a spur off the main line, with two trains an hour stopping in the city.

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HS2 claims the new service will reduce journey times between Sheffield and London by over half an hour to 1 hour 27 minutes.

The proposed route has been met with opposition from many residents in Doncaster, after HS2 bosses confirmed several houses on the newly-built Shimmer Estate in Mexborough would be demolished to make way for the new rail line. 

HS2 initially said 19 houses would be pulled down under the plans. 

But a new Working Draft Environmental Statement published in October shows 52 homes on the Shimmer estate are set to be bulldozed along with eight on nearby Doncaster Road.

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