Euston Express HS2 alternative would save £3.7bn, Lords told

A scheme designed to put all HS2 and West Coast Main Line trains into one new integrated station at Euston, would be £3.7bn cheaper than HS2’s current plans for the station, the House of Lords HS2 Bill committee was told last week.

The Euston Express team said their scheme would be completed in nine years, instead of the 19 proposed by HS2, and reduce the disruption to the local area in Camden.

Research from Michael Byng, eminent Quantity Surveyor, who has written the Rail Method of Measurement, said that the route from Old Oak Common to Euston would cost £3.7bn less than HS2’s proposals. Even if changes to the WMCL part of the station were required, it would be £1.9bn cheaper.

Lord Tony Berkeley, chair of the Rail Freight Group, who supports the proposals, said: “Interestingly, HS2 did not challenge these figures at the Select Committee hearings.   Perhaps they do not have any costings themselves.”

HS2 has been criticised for potentially missing its phase 1 start date, and is conducting a financial review to try to ensure it stays within its £55bn budget.

The Euston Express scheme involves working on the station in stages, with platforms extended southwards towards Euston Gardens to enable longer trains to be accommodated.

It would also include a new deck over the area to allow increased passenger circulation and pedestrian connections to the roads on either side. In addition, there would be an enlarged Underground ticket hall, two subways under all platforms, and escalators and lift connections to the underground and Crossrail 2.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.



John Burns   18/10/2016 at 14:24

HS2, if it is ever built, and hopefully not, is better terminating at Old Oak Common. There are enough connections there to take passengers where they want to go in London. Better still run inter-city trains into Crossrail, right into the West End, The City and Stratford. Where people want to go. Remove the bottlenecks from the WCML, take Birmingham and Wolverhampton trains onto an uprated Chiltern Line and the end to end times from The City to Liverpool & Manchester would be quicker than HS2.

John Burns   18/10/2016 at 15:14

Having a mainline station remote from the city centre and using rapid-transit rail to access the centre and other parts of a city, as Old Oak Common, is not new. The document: MALTS (Merseyside Area Land Use/Transportation Study: final report: report A to the Steering Committee) suggests just this as an option in Liverpool in 1969. It suggested closing Lime Street station with mainline services terminating at a new station at Edge Hill. Edge Hill is a large junction to the east of the city centre. The idea would have been to use the Edge Hill spur scheme, which is the Wapping Tunnel from Edge Hill to underground Central station to provide access to the city centre. There is no suggestion of even a small station being retained at Lime St. With a substantial underground/metro system the suggestion is not impractical. Liverpool was to have two parkway stations, Rocket at Broad Green and Liverpool South Parkway. South Parkway was finally built over 30 years late in 2006. Rocket was abandoned as was one third of the Merseyrail metro. The loser would be living history, as Lime Street station is a magnificent portal and the world's first large terminal station - a pioneer. This suggestion/option is only a few paragraphs in the document, so no great emphasis was put upon it. Research had indicated that many people who travel to city centres, have to travel to the city outers. Many pass by their own homes on the way into city centres. The idea of the two parkway stations and a new Edge Hill station was to allow people to access mainline services at more conveniently located stations

Graham Nalty   18/10/2016 at 16:04

The Euston Express plan seems to have achieved what has been expected from HS2 Ltd., but which the company charged with producing our high speed lines do not appear capable. But many rail experts consider the terminus station to be 'last century's technology' and though stations not only cost less to build, but provide better connectivity to places further, either by connecting services or later extending the high speed line. John Burns makes a very good point that inter city trains might run into the West End, the City, and Stratford, but is he including HS2 trains in this? Surely this is the travel of the future where the highly inconvenient journey between two London termini by underground, bus or taxi can be eliminated. But the city centre station is a 'must' on any high speed lines as one of my reasons from preferring high speed rail to air is that high speed rail takes right into the centre of the city.

John Burns   18/10/2016 at 16:36

@Graham Nalty Graham, I am on about having the existing mainlines as expressways with bottlenecks removed. The 1980s APT was designed to run at 155mph on existing tracks. We can surely be averaging 150mph from London to Manchester that will take only about 10 minutes longer than HS2. Then factor in an intercity running right into the heat of London under the streets then end to end time are much superior to HS2. We need to work to take off the mainlines local & regional rail. Where the real need is.

John Burns   18/10/2016 at 16:59

@Graham Nalty Graham, there could mixed services. Say some from Liverpool to Euston and some from Liverpool to Stratford (or wherever the termination is) via the West End and The City. HS2 is clearly geared for business travellers. Well, taking them to right near where they want/need to be on the exiting inter-cities is the key.

PK   18/10/2016 at 18:29

Mr Burns. You appear to advocate the removal of commuter ("local & regional") traffic, which makes up a major proportion of Northampton to Euston passengers. Surely HS2 (which I don't want, either) is the segregation of the intercity from local services: we can't build a new Watford Milton Keynes railway...

Graham Nalty   18/10/2016 at 18:50

Most main lines out of London have three different types of service - the all stations commuter services, the 'regional' services serving all the larger towns, and 'limited stop' services running long distances between the largest cities only. You need 6 tracks to serve all three types of train and running the 'regional' services on the same tracks as the' limited stop' or the commuter services significantly reduces the number of trains paths due to different speeds. HS2 provides, for the WMCL, MML and ECML that extra two tracks that can be used for the fast services. The problem with HS2 is that fails to serve the intermediate stations properly due to the now-discredited parkway stations that do not create jobs effectively for the cities they are meant to serve.

John Burns   18/10/2016 at 19:38

We can all dream up wonderful ways of improving the interesting British rail system. The mainlines were abused in that regional and local traffic started to use them reducing their high-speed impact. Thameslink using the MML is one of them. A new track could be built for Thameslink in parts, or a new section of the MML which is straighter. All over we can see this sort of thing. No need for a new network, just bottlenecks removed and new sections of track where needed. On the ECML it would be best to by-pass a few villages for 5 miles or so with new track. It is matter of using common sense where the problems are seen and tackle them locally. Run a new metro/commuter line near a town which all benefit from and you will see great acceptance, not mass vitriol. Tunnel it under the town and leave a station in a cutting and they will all applaud.

Chris M   19/10/2016 at 05:33

I see John Burns is still spewing out paragraphs of stuff with no basis in reality.....he hates HS2 it seems, but he also hates existing users of the railway and seems sold on rabbiting on about the fantasy of 186mph tilting trains on our twisty Victorian alignments. Real pie-in-the-sky stuff. Apparently he is a well-known troll on railway enthusiast forums, universally known as 'Mad John', I think we can all see how that nicknamecame about! Lol! As for this lot making uncosted claims about saving £billions, it was interesting to see their man admit in the Lords Select Committee recently that they had no idea how the builder's yard in Queens Park could possibly be used to create tunnel portals without causing huge disruption to existing tracks. Nor did they seem to understand that this piece of railway is hemmed in by thousands of residential properties that overlook the railway line. The work involved in their scheme would cause far more years of misery and to far more people than the work being planned by HS2 Ltd in Camden cutting. The fact that they are associated to Lord Berkeley is a big clue that it cannot be taken seriously. Roll on the passing of legislation in a few months time, then all the crackpots can move on to other schemes, telling professional engineers on other projects how to do their jobs.

Chris M   19/10/2016 at 05:46

OMG! I missed the fact that John Burns does not appear to understand the rather huge differences between a Crossrail metro train (3 doors a side, minimal seating, 90mph maximum speed) and a long-distance Inter-City train (2-doors a side, lots of seats, toilets, luggage areas,125mph maximum). The suggestion to run incompatible Inter-City trains through London's Crossrail tunnels, despite not matching the platform door spacing, must rank as one of the most unintelligent ideas ever put forward in the history of mankind. Even a typical schoolboy aged 10 would quickly spot the major flaw in that crackpot notion! It is clear John Burns is posting nonsense for a laugh - there is no other sensible explanation. It can't be possible to be that clueless and remain alive..... surely?

Rhydgaled   19/10/2016 at 09:33

The Great Western and East Coast main lines are surely almost as busy as the West Coast main line. If London is to keep expanding, we'll be needing new lines to relieve those next. If you are forward-planning to that end, a Euston terminus isn't the ideal solution. But mixing high-speed trains with Crossrail's stoppers is a really daft idea. If HS2 is to run through London, it would need its own tunnel and expensive underground station, it couldn't use Crossrail's. A 4-track underground railway to high-speed standard underneath London would be hugely expensive, but would allow a single central-London hub station which could eventually serve HS1 (to the Channel Tunnel), HS2 (to Manchester/Glasgow) and HS4 (Edinburgh/York/Leeds-London-Heathrow-Taunton, with links to the existing network allowing services to run to Bristol and Plymouth/Penzance). At some point though London will get so big that the cost of providing the rail capacity to support it is too high. If making London the hub of a HighSpeed rail network as I suggested above is over the acceptable price, then Euston is fine and it is Birmingham we should be using as the hub of a HighSpeed rail network. Essentially, you would have HS2 as a new London-Manchester route, plus a new HS line from Leeds to Birmingham with (importantly) the ability to run through Birmingham onto upgraded existing lines to Bristol and Plymouth. Either way, HS2's biggest flaw is the Birmingham Curzon Street terminus. It absolutely needs to be redesigned with tunnel mouths instead of buffers, allowing London-Manchester, London-Glasgow, London-Liverpool and perhaps London-Holyhead services to call at Birmingham Curzon Street on route. The 'Birmingham Bypass' planned as part of HS2 must be scrapped, (almost) all HS2 services must call at Curzon Street (except Leeds to London if such services run, though as alluded to above I feel the eastern arm of HS2 makes more sense running as Edinburgh-York-Leeds-Birmingham-Taunton-Plymouth).

John Burns   19/10/2016 at 12:25

@Chris M Ad hom attacks means you lost it. Crossrail is compatible with inter-city trains. Any incompatibility is minor and can be easily put right. The fact is that no independent economist has projected economic growth for HS2, they have for HS3. Few independent rail experts are for HS2. @Rhydgaled The ECML handles half the traffic of the WCML. There are too many inter-city trains on the WCML, that is why there is congestion south of Milton Keynes. Getting them off the WCML is the answer. The answer to London is to run inter-city trains through Crossrail and leave Euston and the 300 Council houses alone. Yes, inter-city trains can run into Crossrail. Inter-city trains in Crossrail would only stop at a few stops under London. The train would not empty all at once as the passenger dispersal would be amongst a number of stations. The hub for the UK can be a linear hub - HS3. It intersects the WCML, ECML and the MML. For e.g, trains could run down the ECML, along HS3 and down the WCML at full linespeed all the way.

Michael Wand   21/10/2016 at 23:47

Saving money around Euston will still mean that HS2 will: 1 Suck central Brum into London's rail commuter catchment. 2 Suffer the interchange penalties of its Euston terminus. 3 Not fast-connect the cities of the Northern Powerhouse. 4 Not have a cross-platform interchange with HS1. 5 Not connect to the Southern electric network direct. 6 Not offer a central London interchange with Crossrail. 7 Still require us to buy the whole £50bn package.

Peter   24/10/2016 at 12:47

A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you are talking real money !

Rhydgaled   24/10/2016 at 13:23

@John Burns (19/10/2016) While you might, in theory, be able to run a Pendolino (for example) through Crossrail, as far as I'm aware Crossrail is expected to operate at full capacity with automatically-operated trains just a few minutes apart. Thus, there would not be spare train paths in which to run said intercity train. Even if you could path intercity trains, you wouldn't be able to stop at any of the Crossrail platforms, and not only because of the platform edge doors. An intercity train has fewer, narrower, doors situated at the carriage ends (where they should be for trains used for long-distance journeys). That will make the dwell time at stations much longer, holding up all the Crossrail metro trains behind. And that's just conventional UK intercity trains; if you are talking about HS2 rolling stock using Crossrail then I doubt Crossrail has been built to a sufficiently large loading gauge to accept off-the-shelf European high-speed trains such as the TGV Duplex. I suppose you could just stick to classic-compatable trains, but you still have the dwell time and pathing problems. I do like the idea of high-speed trains running through London with their own underground through station, but I'm sure they would need their own tunnel and platforms in order to do that; the cost of which I expect would be prohibitive. As for HS3 as a HighSpeed hub, I hadn't thought of it like that before, perhaps because I assume it is just a catchy term for an upgrade of the current TransPennine railway. If it were its own dedicated new line it might work, and you could cancel the Birmingham-Leeds spur of HS2, but you would still need to turn Birmingham Curzon Street into a through station and cancel the Birmingham bypass line. Whatever happens with HS2, the idea of central Birmingham being a dead end on a puny spur of a 200mph railway NEEDS TO DIE.

Kev   24/10/2016 at 19:26

queens park station without LAWFORDS timber yard - that place is a legendary landmark....it will be the end of an era when that place is gone

Michael Wand   24/10/2016 at 23:11

@ Rhydgaled para 3 above: The Northern Cities Crossrail route follows the straight four-track railway north to Rochdale out of Manchester Victoria, a fast curve to a western portal close to the M62 and then mainly tunnel to an eastern portal close to the M62 NW of Huddersfield, on its way towards Leeds. It avoids today's wiggly route by some miles. More route detail in: http://www.infrastructure-intelligence.com/article/dec-2014/case-building-hs3-hs2

R Howlett   11/11/2016 at 18:04

Meanwhile in China

John Burns   14/11/2016 at 14:55

@Rhydgaled Yes, HS3 can be a high speed linear hub. And you are right in that the eastern leg of the HS2 Y can be cancelled. The ECML & MML, by removing bottlenecks, can more than cope as they are pretty "direct", not a curvaceous route like HS2. If Inter-city trains can be directed into Crossrail, regional & local services elsewhere would need to be cut. Are they needed? HS3 does bring a whole new dynamic to it all. HMG is determined to get HS2 phases 1 and 2a built - London to Crewe via Brum. That is all HS2 needs - no more. Dedicated, captive, HS2 trains are not needed. The western HS2 and WCML leg can standardise on one tilting compatible train that can reach 140mph, at least, on classic tracks and 250mph on HS2 track (maybe also used on the MML & HS3). The current plan is that compatible trains are 'non-tilting'. That is, on the WCML spur to Liverpool the trains can only reach 110mph max, averaging about 85-90 mph overall. That is appalling! By removing bottlenecks and using tilting compatibles the time are shortened considerably - and no new track or tunnels. Also the times to Scotland will be reduced considerably using tilting compatibles. OK, what this means is that we would have HS2 from London to Crewe only, and HS3 Liverpool to Hull, branching into the ECML, MML and WCML. The savings from abandoning the rest of HS2 can be put towards HS3. Disproportionately expensive 'branch' tunnels are then dropped around Manchester. What does this give us? It will take 55 minutes from London to Crewe. Using the existing classic WCML spur tracks into Liverpool & Manchester using trains that will 'average' 125mph from Crewe into the cities. That is a time of 1 hr 15 mins from London. Is that slow? On HS2, Manchester is timed at 1 hr 8 m ins. SEVEN minutes difference!! That clearly is not slow !!! For Scotland the magic under 3 hours can be achieved from London. Remove bottlenecks on the WCML running through the Lakes and use tilting compatible trains and Scottish cities are easily served in well under 3 hours. Install some high-speed track inside Scotland the times are shorter again. All we need do is: 1. Take HS2 only from London to Crewe; 2. Build HS3; 3. Remove bottlenecks on the WCML, ECML and the MML; 4. introduce tilting HS2/HS3 compatible trains. All bases are then covered and no one sufferers.

Add your comment

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

HS2 Ltd: Five tech firms join Innovation Accelerator initiative

11/09/2020HS2 Ltd: Five tech firms join Innovation Accelerator initiative

HS2 Ltd have announced today (11 Sept) the first five revolutionary tech firms that will join HS2 Ltd’s Innovation Accelerator programme. ... more >
Network Rail publish Decarbonisation Plan

11/09/2020Network Rail publish Decarbonisation Plan

Network Rail have released their interim Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy, illustrating its preliminary recommendations for decarbonisin... more >
Trains kept moving by AWC despite damaged overhead wires

11/09/2020Trains kept moving by AWC despite damaged overhead wires

Avanti West Coast have taken an unlikely option to allow their timetable to run, without delays, despite damaged overhead wires. The operato... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s network of independent repair facilities across the UK and further afield in its global network. ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >
Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

02/07/2019Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

Smart electrification is the way to boost clean energy resources, argues Leo Murray, director at 10:10 Climate Action. Contractors are clear... more >
Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

02/07/2019Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

The TCR Midlands conference is only days away and tickets are going fast for the sector event of the year at the Vox Conference Centre in Birming... more >

rail industry focus

View all News


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he wo... more >