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11.04.14

HS2 risks missing chance for viable link with HS1 – Tony Berkeley

Railway Lord’ Tony Berkeley has accused the government of gagging debate about an alternative HS1-HS2 link in the select committee stage, which he said will harm the future of the project.

The Rail Freight Group chairman and Labour peer said the DfT was right to have cancelled the HS1-2 link in the HS2 Bill on the recommendation of new chairman Sir David Higgins. But he said plans to get the Commons to prevent the HS2 select committee from discussing any future alternative link are “entirely wrong”.

He said: “There clearly needs to be some rethinking of the route and purpose of the HS1-2 link, and the extent to which it should take regional trains. But without even petitions and a debate in the select committee about passive provision for such a link at or near Old Oak Common (OOC), it looks as if HS2 passengers wanting to go to Paris will still be trudging along Euston road to St Pancras for the next 50 years.”

He said that while it is “reasonable” to avoid pointless discussion of the now cancelled link, preventing petitions and select committee discussion on alternatives – or passive provision for them – means there will be no chance in the future of connecting HS2 at its main interchange station at OOC to any other station in London or to HS1.This is because HS2 has stated that all tunnelling from OOC eastwards must start from there because there is nowhere suitable to erect a tunnel boring machine (TBM) near Euston or beyond. 

“Since the TBMs must be erected on what is to be the future station platform area at OOC, any tunnelling works clearly must be completed before the station is fitted out and trains can operate from there up HS2 and to Euston,” said the peer, who also sits on RTM’s editorial board.

Lord Berkeleysaidthat if there is ever to be a link to join HS2 up with HS1, either single or double track, this will also need to be in tunnel, starting from OOC.  If there is to be a junction further east in the tunnel from OOC to Euston, then this also needs building before fitting out.

He added that he will be writing to MPs and ministers urging them to amend the instruction from the Commons to the select committee to allow petitions and discussion on alternatives to the now cancelled HS1 link.

Currently, there are many options for the route of a HS1-HS2 link, including directly to Stratford with or without central London station(s), the Euston Cross proposal promoted by Lords Bradshaw and Berkeley which could provide such a link if the HS2 tunnels to Euston are moved to join the west Coast Main Line in the Queens Park area, but for good passenger interchange, a link to HS1 serving OOC has been “highly” recommended.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

John   11/04/2014 at 12:53

He's absolutely right! HS2 should connect directly with HS1 to create a true international rail corridor. Stratford is a good idea and cut out wretchedly awful Euston. When is anyone in Government, whatever colour, going to see sense in all of this and cut out the hrrendous costs of Central London and all the slush funding required???

Dr Peter Jarvis   11/04/2014 at 18:18

If there is no link between HS1 and HS2, just how is Continental goods rolling stock to reach the manufacturing centres of Britain?

Nonsuchmike   11/04/2014 at 20:05

I have always maintained that: There must be interconnectability with HS1 somewhere, preferably @ OOC as well as Stratford; there must be a subterranean Euston/St Pancras/Kings X part terminus, part through route, coming in under Primrose Hill; building of HS2 should start from the north as well as the south at the same time. As much as possible in cities/suburbia should be under existing lines to reduce the land take and overall costs. Connections with Crossrail and Heathrow/Stanstead may be desirable, but are "Sideshow Bob" in comparison to the main event which is connections with the Midlands and the NE/NW (to include Hull, Stoke and Merseyside?). Freight-wise, a modest investment in dualling the Felixstowe line would pay handsome rewards now the Ipswich curve is done. And another dualled line across the Pennines is not just necessary, but imperative.

Roger G   06/05/2014 at 16:12

Why is HS2 going to Euston at all? Surely the correct terminal should be at Old Oak Common utilising Crossrail for connections into London. I would also terminate WCML trains at OOC leaving Euston to serve commuter services only and therefore no need to expand Euston. It seems logical to me to build a super station at OOC/Willesden Junction and use the savings to construct a tunnelled line from OOC HS2 to HS1 at Stratford with stations at Farringdon, Oxford Street and Canary Wharf. I would also use the Chiltern Main Line as an extension of Crossrail to Birmingham early in the programme to enhance capacity in the interim. I think we sometimes forget that nobody actually wants to go to Euston. At the moment the problem is that the trains stop there and all the rest of the journey is via an overloaded TFL system. With OOC in play the interchange with The Great Western ML, WCML, Chiltern ML, Crossrail1 and future 2 and the Heathrow Express offers great advantages on it's own. Running HS2 through via key London stations which are probable destinations to HS1 and the Continent is surely better for all. Particularly Heathrow bound passengers in both directions. There are other lines of the London overground network which run through OOC which can provide potential links to all the other termini in London and on to Gatwick and Stansted. All of this can avoid the the use of the over strained Tfl underground Network. The main advantage of OOC is that it is mainly Railway Property already commonly in use for railway purposes. OOC is likely to be the future growth area of London rivalling and even exceeding the Canary Wharf potential. The Hub airport debate must come into this as well. If not Heathrow then some where like Upper Hayford would be well served by being on the HS2 and Chiltern line as the extension of Crossrail and capable of a fast Heathrow to Upper Hayford link using Heathrow Express/Chiltern lines or Great Western lines via Oxford. I have to say though it would be a very interesting challenge to construct the superstation at OOC with a multi deck multi directional design that sorts out all the various lines that converge there.

Nonsuchmike   07/06/2014 at 18:09

Several interesting points in your post, Roger, some of which bear serious consideration for now and for the future of interconnectability in and around London and hence with the Midlands & NE/NW to the Continent. Firstly, and contrary to what you seem to suggest, a lot of people abroad and in the north/midlands want to come to or through London to do business, visit relations or just on vacation. If for no other reason that it would be quicker and cheaper and less stressful by train than by air, even to City Airport. Secondly, by building a line via OOC and subterranean Euston/St Pancras/Kings X to a HS1 link @ Stratford, we tick all the boxes, not just some of them. Interconnectability with Crossrail would be @ Stratford International and OOC/Willesden, so obviating the need for yet another tunnel to Farringdon, Oxford Street etc. Your ideas about linking with Chiltern Mainlaine are sound, but would need some extra build in Birmingham as the provisions at the moment mean you have to come into Brum from the SW to leave it to the North; the line to Wolverhampton is mainly a Metro line to the NW of Brum, with no chords or intersections capable of carrying an express at this moment in time. Having said that, Curzon Street station (HS2) is not the perfect solution either, but does give respite to the existing three central stations in Brum capacity-wise. Airport Hubs are a whole separate set of arguments, so I am not going there except to say the exclusion of Stansted via access via the East from Crossrail seems a major blooper on the Government's part. Should they expand that airport in time, as they surely must, then a second runway and access from the east as well as from the west (maybe linked up underneath the runways?) is imperative. It seems to me that the thinking currently is: let's alleviate current road and rail congestion, but leave the matter confronting our children to them, and let them pay for it. Scarcely a british way of dealing with matters, methinks.

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