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Alternative HS1-HS2 link proposed

Extending the Southeastern Javelin and HS1 international services could help improve connections between HS2 and Europe, according to a new Greengauge 21 report.

The study – HS1-HS2 connection: A way forward – shows how a tunnelled connection across the London Borough of Camden could be combined with an underused surface railway westwards from Old Oak Common to bring connectivity and coherence to the plans for the London end of HS2.

Jim Steer, director of Greengauge 21, said: “A new solution to the HS1-HS2 link needs to consider all traffic that could use a re-specified link. In addition to international travel there is substantial demand for cross-London travel.

“An extension of the Southeastern Javelin and HS1 international services to Old Oak Common and Heathrow would provide for cross-London markets. Also, the Javelin services could be readily extended over the Chiltern Trains line to serve places such as High Wycombe, Aylesbury and Oxford.

“New international services could provide opportunities for same station interchange between HS1 and HS2 at Heathrow and Old Oak Common. This would bring substantial benefits.”

The report comes just weeks after Sir David Higgins, chairman of HS2 Ltd, in his review of the project, concluded that the low capacity £700m HS1-HS2 link originally considered should be scrapped, as it involved “too many compromises”.

However, the latest study suggests that adverse impacts on London Overground – one of the problems with the proposal now dropped – could be avoided.

Greengauge 21 stated that preliminary work by Transport for London has identified a tunnelled option that can support a mix of international and cross-London demand. It has been revealed that west of Old Oak Common, accessing Heathrow can be achieved by using an existing rail corridor – unused except for one train per day – and the link already planned for HS2 to reach Heathrow.

Steer added: “There is a long list of benefits that a re-designed HS1-HS2 link should exploit. For instance, it protects the possibility of direct services from the North to continental Europe; extends HS1 in a way that maximises HS2 investment by enabling same-station interchange between the two; and Javelin services from Kent would be extended to Old Oak Common, Heathrow, Oxford and Aylesbury, providing the Chilterns with a cross-London Javelin service.”

Besides having the support of authorities and businesses in the North and the Midlands and to the south and east of London, this proposal would bring direct benefits to many areas between London and Birmingham, including Buckinghamshire, stated Greengauge 21.  

The proposal has also received some industry support with Geoff Inskip, chief executive of Centro, saying: “The importance of a direct link from the North and Midlands cannot be overstated. This proposal is very welcome and we need to see it implemented at the earliest opportunity.”

Kent County Council's cabinet member for environment and transport, David Brazier, added that the scheme is excellent and will receive strong support in Kent. “It would also provide a long-term solution for the option of future international services from cities north of London to European destinations,” he added.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


Roger Moulding   04/04/2014 at 21:01

Greenguage 21's proposal makes perfect sense. I would go even further and suggest ALL HS2 services are extended at least to Ebbsfleet and ALL Javelin (and possibly Eurostar) services are extended at least to Old Oak Common, with both services providing interchanges to Crossrail on both sides of London. An underground through station would be required somewhere in the Euston/St Pancras area, but this could be much smaller than the proposed Euston terminus, which could be deleted completely. The incredible waste of space that is St Pancras International could also be put to much better use. The present plans for HS2 will simply create another commuter route into central London, with very little benefit to people from the Provinces wishing to travel to Europe, Kent, or even East London. I sincerely hope Greenguage 21 suggestions are taken up and we get a properly joined up High Speed Rail network. Otherwise there will be an urgent need to upgrade the already very busy footway between Euston and Kings Cross/St Pancras!

Ramon Prasad   04/12/2015 at 02:21

It is amazing that Government, Lodon Borough of Camden, Network Rail, are colluding to install a permanent 1 hour discontinuity at the Euston/St Pancras interface on a system that is called "HIGH SPEED RAIL 1/2". If actually implemented this would make all three into an international laughing stock. It can easily be avoided by building a "through station" on the old goods marshalling yard/ interchange depot just north of St Pancras station at the actual junction point of the HS2 and HS1 lines. There is, fortuitously, enough space at this location to enable a station where passengers from the north of England on HS2 and from France on HS1 can be discharged, but which would enable the remainder of passengers on the train to continue their journey southwards, or northwards respectively. A short stop at St Pancras (north) would enable the title "high-speed" to be retained with some justification. Now it is up to Station architects to build and connect a station "St Pancras North" and integrate it with the "St Pancras" (south) as is. It is up to them to build this adjunct with commensurate magnificence to the St pancras that is already there. They are perfectly capable of doing this It is up to railway civil engineers to provide track westwards, first of all across Camden Road station from thence above Camden Market to Chalk Farm, and from thence through the already planned tunnel to Old Oak Common. They are perfectly capable of doing this. The discontinuity at Euston/St Pancras is a nonsense and cannot be sustained or justified.Here is a solution which has been hiding in plain view all along.

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