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HS2 bill must provide for Crossrail 2, says TfL boss

Provision for Crossrail 2 must be made in the Hybrid Bill for the first phase of the High Speed 2 line to ensure Euston station is not forced to close under the pressure of overcrowding, Transport for London managing director of planning Michèle Dix said last week.

She told NCE’s London Rail conference that a second Crossrail could be progressed “as soon as you like”, but realistically expected that a version was unlikely to be built until 2030.

However, at the very least, she said it was vital to make provision for the new metro line in the hybrid bill for the first phase of HS2 from London to Birmingham. This is scheduled to be submitted to parliament by the end of next year.

“We don’t want to see Euston dug up twice,” she said. Euston is planned to be the London terminus for the new high speed railway to the North.

Two storeys underground

Early proposals by architect and town planner Sir Terry Farrell suggest positioning the platforms nearly two storeys below ground, allowing for new streets and squares to be created above the concourse level. Plans also involve remodelling the Tube station and creating new bus and taxi interchanges.

Dix’s concerns about Euston echoed those made by former transport secretary Lord Adonis to NCE last month.

Both warned that without a new metro line passing through the station, severe delays would swallow up the benefits from the new high speed line.

“You could have passengers waiting up to 30 minutes for a [Tube] train, in our opinion, although not everyone agrees with that,” said Dix.

30% passenger increase

Business lobby group London First’s executive director for infrastructure policy David Leam said that a predicted 30%increase in passengers is expected at Euston, even without the extended HS2 Y network to the North.

Transport for London and London First are now working up two possible alternatives for a Crossrail 2 route.

The route for a Chelsea-Hackney line was safeguarded in the 1980s – this runs from Wimbledon in south west London to Leytonstone in the north east via Parsons Green, Tottenham Court Road and Hackney.

The two alternatives are:

  • a shorter, Tube-style metro based route from Clapham Junction to Seven Sisters via Tottenham Court Road, Euston and King’s Cross St Pancras,
  • a Crossrail-style regional metro with an altered central route extending as far as Woking and Epsom in the South West and Epping in the North East.

The shorter route is estimated to cost £6bn, according to Leam. The longer, previously preferred option would come in at around £10bn. With optimism bias included these figures would range from £9bn to £15bn depending on the route.

Funding for the scheme remains uncertain and Dix said if businesses were asked to contribute right now, they “might say no” due to the existing ongoing financial support being demanded for Crossrail.

Leam said next year could be pivotal in progressing a second Crossrail as the safeguarded route comes up for review.

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