Our Euston Express team gave evidence on 11 October to the House of Lords HS2 Select Committee to present our scheme for fitting HS2 trains into the present Euston station width alongside WCML trains. This is the idea of Jonathan Roberts, who has worked up a solution not only to the platform layout but the throat for these services, the changes needed to the WCML and the proposed tunnel portal (short tunnel from Old Oak Common) on the WCML near Queen’s Park We are at a stage where we believe there are no show stoppers either to keeping WCML services going during construction and after HS2 opens. The Committee seemed very interested.
The key is that Euston Express will avoid much of the massive disruption to the local community in Camden, with up to 1500 trucks a day threatened for three or more years, whereas Euston Express gives one complete new station in 9 years compared with HS2 giving the half station for their trains in 19 years, and nothing for the dear old WCML station.
Of course the most interesting issue is the cost. Michael Byng, an eminent Quantity Surveyor, who has written a long overdue book commissioned by Network Rail on the standard method of measurement for rail works, has costed HS2’s works from Old Oak Common inward to Euston compared to Euston Express, and has demonstrated that comparing HS2 AP3 to Euston Express from Old Oak Common portal to and including Euston station on a like for like basis, without adding in the WCML part of the station, the taxpayer would save around £3,740m. Even if the WCML part were included to make one integrated station, the taxpayer would save £1,850m.
Discussions with DfT, Network Rail, HS2 and Transport for London continue, but we are hopeful that ministers will see the light and stop this waste of money at Euston for HS2 that still leaves the poor old WCML commuter with that ‘lovely’ 1960s concrete structure.
As Richard Morrison wrote in the Times, “even by the bleak standards of Sixties architecture, Euston is one of the nastiest concrete boxes in London: devoid of any decorative merit; seemingly concocted to induce maximum angst among passengers; and a blight on surrounding streets.”