Search

HS2 boss recommends bigger Euston station under plan to cut £50billion cost of high speed rail link

10:32 17 March 2014

File photo dated 1/2/08 of a general view of Euston Railway Station in central London as plans to knock down and completely rebuild Britain's sixth-busiest railway station as part of the HS2 high-speed project have been scrapped.

File photo dated 1/2/08 of a general view of Euston Railway Station in central London as plans to knock down and completely rebuild Britain's sixth-busiest railway station as part of the HS2 high-speed project have been scrapped.

PA Wire/Press Association Images

The boss of HS2 has recommended reconsidering a controversial section of the route that would decimate parts of Camden Town as he challenged politicians to pave the way for faster building of the new high speed-line to reduce costs.

HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins, proposed a larger development at Euston - the projects southern terminus - but added that plans to link HS2 with HS1, the London to Kent Channel Tunnel high-speed rail link at St Pancras International, should be reconsidered.

Launching a report entitled HS2 Plus, Sir David, the former London Olympics guru, also called for a new look at ways of improving connections between phase two and the existing railway.

He also proposed an accelerated timetable for the northern section of a project, known as phase two, which is fiercely championed by some yet bitterly opposed by others.

Phase one of HS2 would see a line running from London through Tory heartlands to Birmingham and is due for completion in 2026.

Phase two will see the line continue in a Y-shape from Birmingham to north west and north east England and, under current plans, would be completed around 2032/33.

The current whole-line cost, including contingencies, is £42.6 billion, with £7.5 billion for the trains.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls is concerned about the cost with other former Labour grandees expressing reservations about the scheme.

Shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh, however, welcomed today’s report saying: “As always we will continue to hold the government to account for keeping costs down on the project.”

Outlining his report in Manchester today, Sir David said reducing the contingencies, which have pushed the total cost of the project up, would be “irresponsible”.

But he said cost cuts might be possible later and he laid down the gauntlet to politicians by saying the speedier the HS2 legislation the better for cost reductions.

Sir David, formerly chief executive of Network Rail, said HS2 was “vital for the future of the country”.

He added: “The cost and impact have to be recognised and acknowledged, but so too do the cost and impact of doing nothing.

“Without HS2, the people of this country will continue to face the failures of our transport system on a daily basis.”

Sir David said the government should “accelerate phase two as soon as possible”.

This would take the line 43 miles further north than planned, to a new transport hub at Crewe in Cheshire which could be completed by 2027, six years earlier than planned.

Sir David said the Crewe option was good for the area and the north of England generally, while a “more comprehensive redvelopment” of Euston could see the station become “an iconic driver of local regeneration whose beneficial effects will be felt for generations”.

Sir David said that despite the potential benefits of HS2, he was “conscious of the price - financial, physical and emotional - that HS2 will demand from the country, from communities and from individuals”.

He went on: “That is why I have rejected any thought that the project should cut back on planned mitigation measures, whether noise or environmental. Those will continue.

“It is also why I support the government’s proposed approach to property compensation. We need to be clear about the impact of the project, as well as its benefits, and address the consequences of that impact, as we are.”

Legislation covering phase one is currently going through parliament and transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has said that the legislation will not be completed before the general election.

Sir David said: “The uncertainty over the legislative timetable plus the inherent risks associated with any project at this early stage is why I have resisted the temptation to reduce the large contingency contained in the budget.

“The same approach should be taken to the second phase when the work outlined above is complete.”

But he added: “None of that is to rule out the possibility that a target for a lower budget for phase one could be set at some point in the future, but only when the legislative timetable becomes clearer and more certain.

“There is a direct connection between the length of time the parliamentary process takes, and the amount of contingency that is required.”

Sir David acknowledged: “HS2 is an enormous undertaking, but it is not an end in itself. If we do it right, it can be a catalyst for fundamental change at both a local and national level, up and down the country.

“It is ambitious because it needs to be, to meet the demands not just of the here and now, but of the future.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable expressed support for Sir David’s phase two plans while the Institution of Civil Engineers and the CBI were among other groups that received the report warmly.

However, anti-HS2 groups cast doubt on the possibility of bringing forward the phase 2 work while the revamped Euston plan was seen as merely bringing “more wealth and work into London”.

Related articles

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Nazanin with her husband Richard and daughter Gabriella

West Hampstead mum Nazanin has finally seen a specialist for her back and neck, who said that without urgent treatment she could run the risk of permanent impairment

The new community centre designed by architects RCKa

The director of a community centre in Highgate Newtown is celebrating his services being saved - thanks to private

13:14
Gakleen Shahata

Police are increasingly concerned for the wellbeing of a deaf woman with learning difficulties after she went missing from a church in Golders Green.

11:37
The Magic Paintbrush will be performed at Jacksons Lane

A Highgate multi-arts venue has announced its spring season and it is bursting at the seams with shows for all the family.

Friday, February 17, 2017
Professor Emma Morris in her laboratory at the Royal Free. Photo: Anna Behrmann

Anna Behrmann speaks to Professor Emma Morris, part of a team of researchers who are genetically modifying patients’ immune cells to find tumours and kill them

Friday, February 17, 2017
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside Haringey's cabinet meeting on Tuesday. Photo: Nigel Sutton

An overseas developer has been confirmed for Haringey’s plans to privatise large swathes of council estates and land - as legal action is launched and hundreds waved colourful signs in protest

Friday, February 17, 2017
Colin Leacock          Picture: CENTRAL NEWS

A man charged with raping a woman he met on a dating site after his domineering sister turned her into an “unpaid skivvy” has been cleared.

Friday, February 17, 2017
A tool surrendered in Dodoma, Tanzania, used to perform the 'dangerous practice' of FGM      Picture: Sala Lewis/Irish Aid/PA

The number of new cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Haringey, Camden and Barnet have been revealed as the NSPCC said the practice has “no place in any society”.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Are you in need of a new kitchen? Try our competition and you could win a brand new one!

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now