The latest U-turn by HS2 Ltd in relation to the plans for Euston station is yet further evidence of the amateur approach that characterises the whole HS2 debacle.
In January 2012 the original estimate for complete rebuild of Euston was £1.2billion to be completed by 2026.
Just a few months later this estimate had shot up to £2billion. HS2 Ltd responded with their cheapskate “option 8 station” at a reduced price of £1.4billion. This was still supposed to be completed by 2026. Then last year ministers announced they were going back to a complete rebuild and promised the revised plans and costs by October.
As the New Journal reported last week, HS2 Ltd have gone back again to option 8 at a revised cost of £2.5billion – half a station at twice the price.
HS2 was originally envisaged as an integrated transport project. Those plans are now in tatters. The HS2/HS1 link along the North London Line has now, rightly, been abandoned. Plans to link HS2 with Heathrow and Stratford have been deferred; and it remains unclear whether the government would pay the additional £20billion required for Crossrail 2 which would be essential to cope with the extra passengers if Euston is to be the sole London terminus.
Meanwhile 500 people stand to lose their homes in Holborn & St Pancras and more than 5,000 would be exposed to living next door to Europe’s biggest demolition, engineering and building site until 2033 according to the revised timetable.
HS2 Ltd’s top priority is to construct HS2 while causing the minimum of inconvenience to existing rail users. This is a recipe for misery across large areas of Camden, gridlock on our roads, works executed at night and at weekends, and pollution levels pushed even higher above existing EU standards.
Yet HS2 Ltd has not offered any adequate mitigation measures or compensation to minimise the impact of these works on those who live in the area.
It is clear that HS2 Ltd has consistently underestimated both the practical difficulties and the cost of bringing HS2 into a high value, densely populated area such as Euston; 15 months into the hybrid bill process, HS2 Ltd has yet to devise a workable plan for Euston.
If HS2 is to proceed its main London terminus should be at Old Oak Common which is on the Heathrow Express and Crossrail and where it is actually welcome.
Frank Dobson MP & Keir Starmer, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Holborn & St. Pancras