HS2 could run fewer trains at a lower speed if changes are needed to finish the project on budget and on time.
MP Andrea Leadsom wrote to HS2 chief executive Mark Thurston (pictured) to raise concerns that he had told a meeting in parliament about the option, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
According to Ms Leadsom, Mr Thurston told the group that “these changes included possibly the speed the trains will operate at on the line by around 50 km/h, reducing the number of trains from 18 per hour to 14, and changing from a slab track to a ballast track”.
In her letter written in November, Ms Leadsom said: “Given that the HS2 business case was first predicated upon speed, then on capacity, then finally on improving connectivity with the north, can I ask how these changes – separately and cumulatively – would impact on the viability of the project?”
In a response to Ms Leadsom this month, the chief executive said he was simply outlining “a number of options” at the meeting in parliament.
He added: “I was also clear that HS2 Ltd is working to the scope and budget of the project which the government has set, and for which detailed debate in parliament has taken place.”
In December, former land and property director for the scheme, Doug Thornton claimed the cost estimates presented to parliament about the scheme were hundreds of millions of pounds too low on the BBC’s Panorama.
Mr Thurston told the programme that he was confident about the budget and that “it’s perfectly normal” for costs to change over time.