A plan to shift the route of the High Speed 2 line to link villages in Hertfordshire and Yorkshire is being cooked up ahead of the general election, NCE understands.
With the £50bn cost of the HS2 project under intense scrutiny, politicians and project chiefs are creating a Plan B that may appease some critics.
Rather than running from London to Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, the line may in fact link Tring and Wrenthorpe.
By removing the need for costly city-centre works, the revised route could shave billions from the cost of the project.
A source close to the scheme, industry stalwart Alf Priolo, told NCE: “There is a lot of political will to get this line built – but the cost is clearly unnerving some MPs so close to polling day.
“We’ve been looking at Plan B for literally hours and really believe it could be the solution everyone’s been waiting for.
“Not only will it give the industry a massive project, creating jobs and a visible workload, but it will shave minutes off the journey a family of four makes between Tring and the Rhubarb Triangle.
“We’ve spoken to the family concerned, and they say they will definitely consider using the line for their annual trip – if their car is out of action and they get a multi-passenger discount.”