COSTS of building HS2 have spiralled because transport chiefs opted to make the trains too fast.
The line, from London to Manchester and Leeds via Birmingham, is now set to cost £106billion, according to the leaked review he worked on.
HS2 trains will reach a top speed of 250mph — but Bullet trains in Japan and the TGV in France travel at only 200mph.
Lord Berkeley told a committee of MPs yesterday: “The speed is totally unnecessarily high. Bring it down to French TGV speeds and you could save a lot of money.”
“You can save money by wiggling a bit, going up and down you may have been on the TGV – you don’t go in a straight line.”
He told the Lord Economics Affairs Committee that because of the high speed, specialist tracks were required even though the top speed would only be achieved for 60 miles through the first phase from London to Birmingham.
He said that a slowdown could save 10 per cent of the cost of the line to Birmingham, and 30 per cent on the Y shaped lined to Manchester to Leeds.
He added: “It is absolutely crazy that they have gone for this very high speed – much higher than in France and Japan, in a small country like ours.”
“But now it’s quite difficult to do anything because we are stuck with the alignment.”
He also revealed that the cost benefits of the line had been calculated assuming that a train would be running in each direction every three and a half minutes.
That means running 18 trains in each direction every hour, where are France and Japan run between 12 and 14.
Rail industry chiefs hit back, urging the Government to go ahead with the line — with a decision expected very soon.