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Call for Euston Road to be ‘sorted out’ for HS2 to HS1 connection

Euston road 3to2

Improving Euston Road will form a “key part” of making the connection between High Speed 2 (HS2) and HS1 a success, a Camden Council boss has said.

HS1, the line which takes Eurostar trains to France, currently terminates at St Pancras in London and HS2’s southern terminal will be at Euston Station, currently around a 10 minute walk away.

Camden Council director of regeneration and planning David Joyce said: “We want for people to get out and use the walking routes. It only takes a few minutes talk to walk from HS2 to HS1, and it is actually a very pleasant walk, so we really endorse that.

“The one key part of that is that we really do need to sort Euston Road out.”

A 10 minute, 750m walking route is currently the favoured option to connect the two stations. However, the main route of the two proposed walking routes would be along the major six lane road running through north London.

In 2016, action group ClientEarth published a report in which it named Euston Road as being one of the top 20 blackspots for toxic air in London.

In HS2’s 2015 report into link options, it said the Euston Road option was the more “prominent” of the two walking routes, however “the high levels of vehicle and pedestrian traffic would limit the achievable environmental quality”.

An alternative “enhanced” walking route to the north using Phoenix Road was priced at a preliminary £2.25M to build (using 2010 prices) due to the required landscaping, signage and wayfinding needed along the route.

Joyce said the council was not in favour of some of the other schemes which had been presented. These include an elevated automated people mover (APM or monorail solution) priced at around £226M to build or a direct rail link between the two which was taken out of the hybrid bill at an early stage.

“There was a plan to have a link to go to through the heart of Camden Town, but it would have killed Camden Town which is one of our historic town centres,” he said. “We were not in favour of that and I’m very pleased when that link was taken out.

“We also weren’t in favour of putting in things like a monorail through Somers Town.”

HS2 commercial director Tom Venner said he was “personally delighted” that the two stations were not physically connected as he said making people walk between the two would “enliven” the area.

Referring to £248M sub-surface APM which was also proposed, he said there would be a “missed opportunity” if people remained underground between the two stations.

“If we look at an underground tunnel people don’t emerge and they don’t get to enjoy and experience that part of London and I think we will lose something from that,” said Venner. “I think if you had a strong arm, you could throw a tennis ball between the two and if you get people out, they will stop, experience and dwell.”

A similar situation currently exists in Paris with passengers arriving on the Eurostar at Gare du Nord having to make a 10 minute walk to connect to trains to the south of France from Gare de l’Est.

Euston Station is the most complex of the four HS2 stations on the phase 1 route. To try to dampen concerns over the whether the station will allow east west connectivity, it was announced last week that the new HS2 station will have entrances on all four sides.

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Readers' comments (8)

  • Philip Alexander

    So at the Birmingham end the station is miles from anywhere and at the London end passengers are told to walk the km to St Pancras to connect to HS1 lugging their suitcases in the rain. What a joke. Who are these people planning HS2? Clowns.

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  • Only in this country could we spend tens of billions on two new high speed rail lines and fail to provide a proper link between them, instead expecting people to drag their luggage 750 metres along one of the most polluted roads in Europe. I understand Camden Council's desire to protect the residents of Somerstown but this is a project of national significance. I believe the decision to scrap the link between HS1 and 2 will be seen in years to come as a massive missed opportunity.

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  • With regard to Mr Venner's comment; One would have to have a very strong arm to throw a tennis ball 750m!

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  • Michael Thorn

    This is pure Metropolitan and HS2 hubris. The "walk from HS2 to HS1" is far from being a very pleasant walk as suggested by David Joyce and I fail to see how making people drag their luggage between the two will "enliven the area" and enable them to "enjoy and experience that part of London". It might present opportunities for touts and porters. At the very least, a free electric shuttle bus should be provided from door to door.

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  • The point everyone is missing here is that a HS1-HS2 link was considered in detail and rejected because it was too expensive and there was insufficient demand. Direct high speed train services from mainland Europe to Northern England would have a 3.5 hour journey time, which means the airlines will still be able to compete. Although I would personally benefit from such a service, the level of demand would only justify a few services per day, in which case it may be more convenient to change in London anyway. I agree that Euston Road is not a very attractive environment and some provision needs to be put in place to provide a decent link - perhaps the pods used at Heathrow would be a good option?

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  • It's pretty grim as things stand. Regardless of HS2/HS1 /CTRL connectivity, there should be a good walking route from Euston to King's Cross St' Pancras that doesn't involve walking down a heavily congested road that doesn't have pedestrian crossings on the side streets. An alternative route through the backstreets would be beneficial, perhaps even a canopy to make it more enticing?

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  • There is a signed walking route between Euston and St Pancras via the backstreets that is pleasant on a dry day and without luggage. I’ve walked it a few times but the idea that it enlivens the area or gives me particular enjoyment from this area of London is completely bonkers.
    On a wet day or with heavy luggage I’d use the tube or some other form of transport.

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  • Is the provision of electric shuttle buses using a dedicated bus lane too simple? Ray Charlton CEng MICE BSc

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