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Eusless planning at Euston

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Most of the discussion of the landscape and community effects of HS2 has focused on rural areas, such as the Chilterns, and to a lesser extent, south Staffordshire. But there would also be substantial urban impacts, especially in the approaches to Birmingham, and in Greater London.
HS2 Ltd's eusless architecture at Euston

Footprint of HS2 Ltd's planned Euston stationHS2 Ltd and the high speed rail ‘spinnerati’ have spread the message that HS2 – new build high speed rail – ‘avoids the need for costly and disruptive upgrades to existing lines’. However, the HS2 project would inevitably involve large scale disruption of existing railways, including the West Coast Main Line, the Great Western Main Line, the North London Line, and Euston station.

To accommodate the longer and taller high speed trains, HS2 Ltd intends to rebuild Euston, with the station extending outside its current limits. The ‘remodelling’ would entail extensive demolition of streets and properties, and wholescale reconstruction of Euston Underground station. Because of the lack of detail in HS2 documents, it’s not clear how much the building of Euston Underground would cost, how long it would take, or how its costs are treated in the HS2 budget.

The western platforms in the rebuilt Euston would be for use by HS2 trains, but during its ‘phased’ commissioning, they would be used by existing services using the West Coast Main Line. This means there would be lengthy disruption of these trains into and out of Euston during the reconstruction.

According to the Department for Transport, reconstruction works “would be organised to maximise the use of rail to supply new materials and remove spoil and waste”. In reality, the rebuild would require most construction materials and waste to be handled by heavy goods vehicles. Not surprisingly, the amount of lorry movements hasn’t been mentioned.

The architecture of the 1968 Euston station has been heavily criticised, but compared with HS2 Ltd’s scheme, that design looks like a triumph of elegance and style. Air rights seem to be the determining factor for the rebuild, rather than aesthetics, convenience, or usability.

The Department for Transport’s intention is for Euston to become the principal London terminal for the East Midlands, Yorkshire, North East England, and Scotland. At present (apart from Glasgow) the London termini for these destinations are St Pancras and Kings Cross.

Euston HS2 in a nutshell

  • Massive disruption to the borough of Camden
  • Concentrating fast trains from Scotland, Northern England, and the Midlands, on one central London arrival point
  • Concentrating fast trains from Scotland, Northern England, and the Midlands, on a single track in each direction
  • Dispersing central London traffic arriving from Scotland, Northern England, and the Midlands, from one Underground station.

The Department for Transport on rebuilding Euston for HS2

“Our long term vision is for Euston Station to provide the principal rail gateway to the north-west and north-east of England and Scotland.
A new modern station would provide a high quality, user-friendly terminus for the proposed new high speed and existing railway services, and would be designed to maximise regeneration in this part of the London Borough of Camden.”
We would rebuild Euston station to provide 10 high speed train platforms, 12 standard train platforms and 2 further platforms which could be used for either type of train. To do this we would need to widen the current station to the west as far as Cobourg Street and lengthen the station site to the south to allow for the longer high speed trains.
Access to the new station would be from the south front (directly from Euston Square Gardens) and from both east and west sides.
The new platforms would be located below ground and then covered over. A new Underground ticket hall, four times larger than the current one, would be provided to cater for the increased passenger numbers. Direct access to Euston Square station would be provided for the first time.
Construction of the entire station would take seven to eight years, with a likely start date of 2017. However, this would be undertaken in stages so that works on each section of the station site should not last longer than three years. The western side of the new station would be built first and then brought into service. We envisage this would allow the existing train services to continue throughout construction. The works would be organised to maximise the use of rail to supply new materials and remove spoil and waste. We would work with local residents, businesses and Camden Council to devise construction methods that minimise the impact during the works.

3 Responses

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  1. […] month, I outlined what HS2 project would mean for Euston station, and the borough of Camden. The official diagram of […]

  2. We are interested in the visualisation of the new Euston at the beginning of the article. We don’t believe this image was part of the HS2 Consultation documents. We would be glad to find out the status and author of this image. Apart from its all too obvious design deficiencies, it seems inconsistent with current HS2 proposals. For example, HS2 said at the Euston Roadshow that there would be a large area of deck oner the tracks behind the station “to Hampstead Road and beyond” for public amenities like a park and housing. No sign of this on the image. Also the glass station roof of the Cpnsultation visualisation seems to have disappeared.
    We would be glad for more information on this image


    August 29, 2011 at 10:42 pm

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