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25.03.14

Government to scrap HS2 link with HS1

The government is to scrap proposals to link HS2 at Euston with the HS1 line at St Pancras, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has confirmed.

Following Sir David Higgins’ HS2 Plus report last week, which suggested the HS1-HS2 link proposals did not meet the right standards, McLoughlin plans to remove the link from the hybrid Bill and withdraw safeguarding as soon as possible.

He said that it “requires too many compromises in terms of its impact on freight, passengers and the community in Camden”.

The transport secretary will, however, commission a study into options for ways to improve connections to the continent, which “could be built once the initial stages of HS2 are complete”.

HS2’s Phase 2 director, Ian Jordan, speaking at last week’s IET/Parsons Brinckerhoff HS2 seminar ‘Vision into Reality’, said the link was a “very expensive proposition” at £700m. He said the proposed link, which would have run partly alongside the North London Line, would not properly complement its operations. “It had impacts on London Overground services and on freight, and some pretty damaging impacts on local communities in Camden”, he added. “David [Higgins] has been looking at other ways of improving that connectivity, and that we will do. A direct high-speed line through is not necessarily the answer, so we’ll be looking at what else might be done.”

Richard Houghton, of HS2 opposition groups HS2 Action Alliance, said: “With no link to HS1 – and Europe – HS2 just becomes another London commuter train – the difference being it is likely to be empty, whereas on current commuter trains 100,000 people stand on the journey into London every day.”

Lords Bradshaw and Berkeley, who came up with the alternative Euston Cross plan for HS2, said the link with HS1 was “never fit for purpose, neither for passengers nor freight”. Lord Berkeley, who chairs the Rail Freight Group, sits on RTM’s editorial board.

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