HS2 Euston ‘faster for Docklands’, claims Rupert Walker
HS2 Euston development director Rupert Walker has ‘explained the drivers behind the revised two stage scheme and the challenges that remain’ to Infrastructure Intelligence. In an interview with Antony Oliver, he admitted that the original scheme would have been “enormously disruptive on the existing railway”.
Unlike, er, the new plan?
[Interview: HS2 development director Rupert Walker on Euston’s new plan, Antony Oliver, Infrastructure Intelligence, 9 Sep 2015, extracts]
[AO:] What is the impact on cost of these changes?
[RW:] There is a relatively minor impact on the cost of the scheme but the overall cost of HS2 phase One is still within its original budget and isn’t affected by this.
[AO:] Have you ever considered the option of just stopping at Old Oak Common and so removing this hugely difficult, controversial and expensive part of the project?
[RW:] That is a really good question but you just can’t do it. You need both Old Oak Common and Euston because we are talking about a massive number of people that will be using HS2 and will be coming to London. Some of them will want to go to west London and so will get off at Old Oak Common. Others will want to get to central London, the city or Docklands and so will travel into Euston. They go to together – it is not a choice of one or the other.
[AO:]Why was this scheme not included in the original Bill?
[RW:] This is a different scheme. While the original scheme met the requirement for HS2 and was within budget it would have been enormously disruptive on the existing railway and it didn’t facilitate the kind of regeneration that we believe is possible – this new scheme does that.
Amusingly, Mr Walker once claimed that passengers at Birmingham’s New Street Station “may be unable to get on peak hour services to the capital by the early 2020s because trains will already be full by the time they reached Birmingham”, even though two in every three such trains arrived at New Street as empty coaching stock. So it’s little surprise to find him spouting nonsense about HS2 Euston being for people ‘going to central London and Docklands’.
In fact, HS2 Ltd have claimed that people travelling to Canary Wharf, etc, would use Crossrail from the Old Oak Common interchange, because it would be faster. And the likelihood is that travel to most of central London would be slower via Euston, not quicker.
[from the Department for Transport submission dated 17 July 2015]
[HS2] Passengers for the West End […] and Docklands are more likely to travel via Old Oak Common.