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12.07.13

London Assembly demands HS2 review and attacks Euston plans

The London Assembly has called for a review of the cost-benefit case for HS2, while saying it continues to support the “principle” of high-speed rail.

But it said that “as the potential detrimental impacts to London become clearer”, it is important that the project addresses concerns over environmental damage, costs and design flaws.

Valerie Shawcross AM, chair of the Assembly’s transport committee, said: “There are many questions about value for money and shortcomings in the current plans for High Speed 2, not least in how London’s already overcrowded transport system will accommodate a doubling of passengers using Euston station. Proposals for linking with HS1 are also unacceptable as this development would halt future development of the popular North London Line.

“The Government and High Speed 2 Ltd also need to improve their plans and seriously reconsider proposals for a tunnelled connection, which would enable operators to make use of Stratford International.”

The Assembly said that if HS2 does go ahead, more needs to be done on its route and design to cut costs, lessen the project’s environmental impact and ensure it doesn’t harm prospects for future development of other parts of the capital’s rail network.

Responding specifically to the HS2 Design Refinement Consultation, the Transport Committee said the current plans for Euston – which could see a quadrupling in the number of pedestrians and a nine-fold increase in cyclists – “fail to deliver sufficient passenger improvements…or consider adequately how to make onward journeys safer”. Currently, Euston receives 23,000 passengers in the morning peak and with HS2, it would be expected to rise to 55-60,000.

Its response also highlighted a near 30% increase in estimated costs for both phases of the project against original estimates (from £32.7bn to £42.6bn, including £12.7bn contingency), and asked for a reconsideration of plans to create a tunnelled section allowing operators to make use of Stratford International.

Read the Transport Committee response and the Environment Committee response.

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

Comments

Nonsuchmike   09/09/2013 at 15:22

Originally I was in favour of "widening" Euston to accommodate HS2, but the environmental upheaval for only four more platforms (or was it five?) got me wondering. The best plan I have seen so far is to continue tunnelling from the NW near S/W Hampstead and Swiss Cottage on a more southerly route so that a new Euston Interchange station is built underground BETWEEN the existing Euston(Hampstead Road and Ossulstun St) and St Pancras. This gives the advantage of being able at some later date to link up with HS1 between StP and Stratford without impinging upon any future developments and improvements to the vital North London Line.

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