HS2 protesters take banners and drums to Euston station on day of action

HS2 Euston station protest

Protesters against HS2 at Euston station with banners and a prop elephant called Nelly, January 24 - Credit: Dorothea Hackman

Protesters demonstrated at Euston station on the evening of January 24 as part of a full day of action against the expansion of High Speed Two (HS2). 

The train line is intended to begin at Euston and head north past Regent’s Park, before going west through South Hampstead and making its way out of west London via a stop at Old Oak Common, not far from north Acton. 

The protests were planned for January 24 due to a bill being put before Parliament that day, which featured plans to take HS2 beyond Crewe to Manchester.  

The project has been subject to intense scrutiny over its business case, corruption and its rising costs, up from an estimated £55.7 billion in 2015 to between £72 and £98 billion last year. 

Ministers say it will cut journey times between Manchester and London by 55 minutes, and that it is part of the government’s levelling up agenda. 

In a statement, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "We are determined to improve transport connections and level up communities across the country, and this bill marks a landmark moment as we bring HS2 to Manchester and lay the foundations for Northern Powerhouse Rail." 

The national day of protest was attended by groups including Stop HS2 North and HS2 Rebellion in an attempt to prevent the plans for HS2 progressing. 

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Dorothea Hackman, chair of Camden Civic Society and a representative of HS2 Rebellion, was one of those to attend the Euston station protest.

She said: “It went extremely well. On one level, the damage has already been done to the community in Euston, so you might wonder why we’re having a demonstration, but there are still a number of massive issues at Euston." 

She said the work on HS2 had "wreaked havoc and destruction on over 300 homes and businesses”.

Complete with an array of banners, drummers and a prop elephant called Nelly, she said the protest was without incident, including no interference from the police. 

She said it was the damage caused to Euston, and the potential environmental impacts of HS2, that drove the demonstrations at the station.

“They’ve done all of this damage to Euston, they haven’t compensated or mitigated adequately or at all, and they have said that they don’t have a plan to bring it in. And, furthermore, it’s a climate emergency.”

Construction work being carried out for the HS2 line at Long Itchington Wood in Warwickshire in December 2021

Construction work being carried out for the HS2 line at Long Itchington Wood in Warwickshire in December 2021 - Credit: PA