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Council slams latest plans for HS2 Euston terminus

High Speed 2 (HS2) will make Euston station a disjointed railway terminus if new redevelopment plans for the £43bn project go ahead, a key London borough warned last week.

Camden Council hit out at the scheme, saying it lacked funding, timescale and design detail. It questioned how Network Rail would integrate HS2 with its existing tracks, the Tube network and the proposed Crossrail 2.

Project promoter HS2 Ltd last week revealed that it will only redevelop the part of the station affected by the new lines.

Network Rail will develop the remaining section. Work will be split into two distinct phases.

But Camden Council leader councillor Sarah Hayward said: “HS2 will cause decades of blight in the Euston area - to property prices, to our small businesses trade and to our residents’ lives - which is why we remain ardently opposed to the scheme.

“If HS2 goes ahead with these plans, Camden suffers all of the pain with none of the benefits.”

Hayward said lessons should be learnt from the £550M overhaul of nearby King’s Cross station.

“The success of the new King’s Cross was built on close collaboration between key partners and viewing the area’s needs as a whole,” she said.

“Euston is a different case, but we need bodies like HS2 Ltd, Network Rail and Transport for London to work together with us, residents and businesses to ensure the new Euston works for everyone. Crucially, we need Euston to be part of the government’s Budget plans.”

Under the new proposals, work to modify the station will be split into two phases.

Phase one involves building six platforms on its western side, outside the footprint of the existing station, by 2026.

Five more platforms will be built next to these, by 2033, but these will be inside the existing building footprint. Only in this second phase will the layout of the existing station be modified, so that it accommodates 13, rather than 18 at present.

This new plan is a shift from plans published with the HS2 Hybrid Bill in 2013. These proposed building all 11 HS2 platforms in one go.

HS2 Euston development director Rupert Walker said the new plans would keep passenger disruption to a minimum.

“Building all 11 platforms in one go would have taken five platforms off the existing Euston station,” said Walker.

“That would mean reducing the number of trains coming in and out of Euston every day, which would mean fewer people would have been able to use the trains every day. So the disruption to passengers was going to be a real issue in the previous scheme.”

Phase two will also involve building a new passenger circulation building, which will run the entire length of the station and contain an unpaid pedestrian route through the station from north to south. A connection to the east will link to this corridor. It is unclear whether there will also be a link to the west as this will depend on track levels.

As part of the new scheme proposals, tracks will be lower than the existing tracks to allow the concourse to remain at street level. There will be routes down to the platforms for trains up to 400m long at several different locations.

With the existing platforms at ground level, an east-west connection through the station will become more difficult.

Walker said that the HS2 part of the redeveloped station would be flexible to allow future plans to be incorporated.

“In due course, Network Rail will put out their own plans for the redevelopment of the rest of the station and they will need to seek powers and funding for that,” said Walker.

“But a key point of what we’ve developed in our plan by working closely to Network Rail is to make sure that our plans for the HS2 station are completely flexible to accommodate whatever happens with the Network Rail station. Whether the platforms are lowered, whether there’s a deck above them, the timing of when that station is redeveloped - we can accommodate that.

“HS2 is funded to deliver the HS2 capability,” said Walker. “It isn’t funded to rebuild the whole of Euston station.”

The flexibility, he said, would give Network Rail the opportunity to interface with Crossrail 2, use the development opportunities around the station and link the surrounding areas of Camden in the most efficient way.

Land for the six new tracks to the west of the station will primarily come from the demolition of three tower blocks containing about 130 homes, mostly social housing. About half the replacement homes have already been built on a site nearby, and the rest are set for construction meaning that residents will only need to move once, said Walker.

A direct railway connection connecting High Speed 2 with High Speed 1 (HS1) to the north of Euston has  been ruled out.

Walker said the new design would include a below-ground link to London Underground’s Euston Square station, allowing passengers to transfer to King’s Cross and the HS1 terminus at St Pancras more easily.

He also said that other passenger links such as a travelator or skyway from Euston to St Pancras had not been ruled out and that the new flexible design would allow for such schemes to be incorporated.

The budget for the redevelopment has increased from £2bn to £2.25bn excluding land, but Walker insisted that the overall HS2 budget had not increased.

The new plans come under an additional provision, AP3, which includes an environmental impact assessment and will have to pass a series of parliamentary hurdles to allow the original Hybrid Bill to be changed.

Royal Assent for the Bill is expected by December 2016 with work on site starting in mid-2017.

Phase one of the Euston work is expected to be completed by 2026 to tie in with the opening of the London-to-Birmingham line.

Phase two of the station should be completed by the time the line’s extensions to Leeds and Manchester open in 2033.

 

 

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