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HS2 Ltd is “currently reporting future potential cost pressures” of around £1.3 billion, according to the October 2021 HS2 six-monthly report to Parliament, published on 20 October 2021. The Department for Transport (DfT) anticipates that cost pressures will be “reduced” following confirmation of a “move to a smaller, less complex 10-platform single-stage delivery strategy at Euston” whose design is to be “developed over the coming months”.

So, after more than a decade of development, there is still no finalised design for Euston HS2. Multiple failed redesigns have cost the public purse tens of millions of pounds, as can be seen from a New Civil Engineer report of August 2021.

Grimshaw and Arup won the Euston concept design job in 2012 but were replaced by WilkinsonEyre with WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff in February 2017. The original team was brought back for the detailed design work a year later, with more than £100M already spent on Euston station’s design.

‘HS2’s updated plan and timeline for Euston station redesign’ | NCE | 16 AUG, 2021 | BY ROB HORGAN

As is to be expected, the six-monthly report to Parliament is more of an exercise in spin than in transparency. In a section headed ‘Benefits’, the narrative laboured over the jobs allegedly created and supported by construction of the railway, although in financial and cost-benefit terms, these would be considered as costs rather than benefits. As a Keynesian make-work scheme, High Speed Two construction is a poor proposition, with the net gain in employment reported by HS2 Ltd in September 2021 as just 1,100 jobs.

Apparently, “over 2,200 businesses have delivered work on HS2, with 97% UK registered”, but being so registered does not necessarily mean that a supplier’s particular goods and services were actually confected in the UK. Much of the construction machinery must have been imported, such as the tunnel boring machines, and the on-site main d’oeuvre is largely migrant labour from inside and outside the EU.

The confirmation of a move to a 10-platform Euston design led to some interesting messages from the HS2 amanti on Twitter, with the editor of ‘Rail’ magazine, Nigel Harris, claiming it meant it can ‘never ever do more than 14 trains per hour’, and Towcester’s finest HS2 consultant, William Barter, contradicting him. Of course, the original plan for HS2 Euston never involved running 17 or 18 trains per hour in and out, as some services were intended to run (mostly empty) to and from the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, and Heathrow airport.

With LGV PSE re-signalling, the French state railway SNCF appear to have taken the view that 16 high speed trains per hour is the limit, irrespective of terminus configuration, but for HS2 this would be moot in the case of the eastern leg to Yorkshire being cancelled, as seems increasingly likely.

@Modern_Railways, twitter, 'HS2 cut to 10 platforms', and @Rail response
@GarethDennis, twitter, '11 platforms was reasonably okay', and responses
@WilliamBarter1, twitter, '16 trains on 10 platforms would work'
@CarlShillitoUK, twitter, 'Will the negative spin ever end?'

Written by beleben

October 21, 2021 at 3:31 pm

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