die belebende Bedenkung

The return of bigfoot

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Euston station 1962 (Ben Brooksbank), Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0

Euston station, 1962 (Ben Brooksbank)

The original plans for the HS2 rail project included a complete rebuild of London’s Euston station on a larger footprint. On 15 March 2012 HS2 Ltd’s chief engineer, Andrew McNaughton, said that the new Euston, which would include housing as well as commercial and retail developments, would be the size of 17 Emirates’ football stadiums.

However, on 7 January 2012, the Beleben blog had stated that the cost of rebuilding Euston had been “vastly underestimated“. Lo and behold, on 19 April 2013, the BBC reported that HS2 Ltd had abandoned the proposal to completely rebuild Euston. Instead, the company proposed to build a lower cost annexe for HS2 services, on the west side of the existing station. The revised proposal, which still involved substantial disruption and landtake, was derided as “a shed being bolted on to an existing lean-to” by Camden council leader Sarah Hayward.

The de-scope at Euston was not enough to stop the estimated cost of HS2 reaching £50 billion (at 2011 prices) in June 2013. Following his appointment as the new chair of HS2 Ltd, David Higgins was tasked with “reporting on how to reduce the £42.6 billion cost of the scheme” (the £42.6 billion figure excludes rolling stock).

However, on 21 February 2014, chancellor George Osborne told the Evening Standard that “maybe we should go for a really big re-development of Euston”.

[‘George Osborne paves way for rebuilding of Euston Station for HS2 arrival’, Evening Standard, 21 Feb 2014]

“There is a really big opportunity for jobs and for housing in the area. Let’s face it — Euston is not one of the prettiest of the London stations. It was last redeveloped in the middle part of the last century.”

Obviously, the profits for construction and real estate companies from a land-grab at Euston could be massive, but they are incompatible with the objective of reducing the cost of HS2. A ’17 Emirates’ development would push the cost of HS2 still higher, and also expose the shortcomings of metropolitan transport in North London. An intensive ‘rabbit hutch’ redevelopment of Euston would increase local transport demand, doubtless triggering calls for billions of pounds of additional infrastructure, such as Crossrail 2.

Written by beleben

February 24, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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  1. […] George Osborne’s vision of a total redevelopment of the Euston site were implemented, there would be a corresponding […]

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