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Farrell backs Euston as venue for London high speed rail hub

London’s Euston station has been identified as the ideal location for a rail hub to link High Speed 1 (HS1) with any new High Speed 2 (HS2) line to the north of England and Scotland.

Leading architect Sir Terry Farrell said siting the hub between Kings Cross and HS1 station St Pancras was an “engineering solution” that ignored the regeneration potential.

Farrell was speaking exclusively to NCE about his manifesto for high speed rail in the UK, which draws on his experiences of designing vast, multi-modal high speed rail stations in China − most recently the Beijing South station and New Guangzhou station still under construction. Farrell opposes the idea of locating the hub at Kings Cross/St Pancras, a location being considered by the government’s HS2 company.

“My hunch is that Euston is a better place. It has the biggest area of land.”

Sir Terry Farrell

“My hunch is that Euston is a better place. It has the biggest area of land,” he said. “I want to study it. You have to think ‘what does a railway station attract to it as part of its DNA’? It releases value but if you haven’t got the land around it to release the value then that’s not the right place.”

Farrell warned that the UK must overcome obstacles that could create delays to further development of high speed rail.

“The big issue for the Brits is will − political will and local will. Everybody has to consult everybody else a dozen times,” he said. He cited an example from the Crossrail mega-project, which had been in the planning for over 20 years.

Farrell worked on a design for a dual Barbican-Farringdon Crossrail station in the 1990s and said that today’s project aims to provide the same facility but is being worked on by a new set of consultants to a different design.

“If you don’t take the moment [on major projects] there is a sheer waste of effort from indecision,” he said.

  • Full interview with Terry Farrell in next week’s NCE.

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