With his constituency in Derbyshire, Patrick McLoughlin spends a great deal of time experiencing the delays, overcrowding and high costs of travelling by train in the UK. Travelling off peak on a Sunday, when many services experience severe delays due to engineering works regularly scheduled for the quietest day on the network, was described as "awful".
The proposed High Speed 2 (HS2) train is expected to relieve some of the overcrowding that exists as a result of passenger journeys doubling over the last two decades, reaching 1.5 billion in 2012-13. With 4,000 people a day having to stand up until they reach London Euston and 5,000 people standing until they arrive at Birmingham New Street, McLoughlin sees this as the main selling point for HS2. He admits that the shorter journey times were "wrong", and blames a PR blunder.
The minister also rejects the claims that the budget for the project had doubled to £70 billion, stating that "the budget is now set: £42.6bn to build the railway, £7.5bn for the rolling stock." The National Audit Office will publish a report on Monday 9th September, in which it is expected to criticise the project.