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HS2: west London out

Transport secretary Philip Hammond last week rejected calls to build a west London terminus and Crossrail interchange for the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail line to the North.

He said creating such an interchange was “not an option” despite a proposal to build one at Old Oak Common, put forward by former Conservative transport secretary Lord Mawhinney.

The idea for an interchange was put forward as a way of giving high speed rail passengers from the North, access to Heathrow Airport via Crossrail.

Hammond was addressing the Commons transport select committee about plans to connect the airport into a new high speed network.

His comments followed publication last month of Mawhinney’s report, which says that the Conservative-favoured plan for a Heathrow station on the line failed to make a strong business case. The report had been commissioned by the previous Labour government.

“Connecting at Old Oak Common on to Crossrail would give a quicker and more convenient overall journey to many destinations in and around London than would travelling via Euston,” says the report.

But Hammond argued such an interchange would be unattractive to rail passengers.

“A wet suburban station somewhere in north west London is not an option.”

Phillip Hammond

“In the discussions that I’ve held with HS2 and with Lord Mawhinney, it is clear that there are different views about how that passenger experience can be delivered,” he said.

“There has to be a form of connection to Heathrow that makes sense to air travellers, that feels like a proper rail to air connection of the type that many major European airports have.

“[It] cannot be: lug your heavy bags down a couple of escalators along 600m of corridor and then change trains at a wet suburban station somewhere in north west London.

“That is not an option.”

But Hammond maintained that the government was keen on a Heathrow connection and said that one at a location away from the airport might be an option.

“There could be options that involved a transfer point that was remote from the airport itself - provided that the seamlessness of the service was of a type passengers would find acceptable,” he told the committee.

Readers' comments (2)

  • CHARLES ROBERTS

    It's the same old story; the metropolitan elite want all the nations railway lines to terminate in central London. It does not matter that eighty per cent of the population might not find Euston [or Kings Cross, Victoria, Waterloo, etc] convenient, so long as the politicians can get to the terminals in a few minutes in a taxi - heaven forbid they could not use other forms of public transport - proposals such as Old Oak Common are dead in the water.

    It's the same with airports; Heathrow should never have been extended in the last twenty five years with T4 and T5, but relocated out to the Thames Estuary, on reclaimed land, away from the dense residential areas. But then we'd have to travel through the "wet suburban stations somewhere in [east] London to get there"

    How arrogant; this mindset will never change.

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  • AAARRG

    The business case has been clearly set out with very sensible ideas and findings to build a terminus at old oak common, it would be a mistake to do anything else. The london termini are overwhelmed as they are, they don't have the capacity. A new large station makes a lot of sense on every level

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