die belebende Bedenkung

Seven platforms of a building site

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David HigginsOn 22 November, the Telegraph picked up on the revelations from the 9 October meeting in which it emerged that work on the more ambitious development of Euston (‘madEuston’) had “stopped” because costs and benefits did not balance. The story, by Andrew Gilligan, seems to have prompted HS2 chairman David Higgins to give a few reassuring quotes to the BBC.

[“High-speed trains ‘will stop at Euston’, boss insists”, Richard Westcott, BBC, 24 Nov 2014]

The boss of HS2, the high-speed train project, has insisted that services will operate from Euston.

Minutes from a recent meeting of rail bosses suggested plans to expand the central London station had been put on hold because of disagreements about the cost and design.

It led to fears that the controversial line might terminate at Old Oak Common in west London.

But Sir David Higgins has told the BBC that will not happen.

“It’s simply about capacity. There’s not the level of connectivity at Old Oak Common that you’d get at Euston, which will eventually have Crossrail 2, but also because of the various tube lines that connect with the mainline trains,” he said.
As Sir David points out, all they have to do before 2026, when phase one of the line opens, is to add six or seven new platforms, independent of the existing station.

Sir David also denied that the project was slipping behind schedule: “We haven’t stopped anything and haven’t delayed a thing.”

The Euston redevelopment was supposed to be completed by 2026, but Mr Higgins is now talking of a situation where HS2 “day one” services might run from seven platforms of a building site (which could remain one for years afterwards).

Since it was set up, economy with the actuality has been standard practice at HS2 Ltd. And in the short time he has been chairman, David Higgins has made a series of implausible claims (‘HS2 would save the green belt‘, ‘without HS2, a new motorway would have to be built‘, ‘a 220mph railway has nearly double the capacity of a 120mph one‘, etc). There is no way of knowing what the real costs of madEuston are. Without additional public cash, HS2 looks doomed, but a further increase in the budget may not be politically possible.

Written by beleben

November 25, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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