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Posts Tagged ‘Euston

Unde este Tring?

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In August 2014 the then transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin popped down to the Farringdon Crossrail building site, to tell its largely eastern European workforce that he was thinking of having the service extended to Tring.

What Ștefan from Timişoara, or Piotr from Gdańsk, made of this visit, is not recorded. “Who is this man?“, or “Where is Tring?“, perhaps. But apparently, Crossrail to Tring was intended to

  1. make building HS2 less disruptive by taking some trains out of Euston
  2. reduce journey times for commuters to central London.

But on 5 August 2016, Hemel Today reported that Mr McLoughlin had written to Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning to say the scheme has been pulled because it represented “poor overall value for money to the taxpayer”.

[Crossrail off the tracks as plans are shelved, Hemel Today, 2016-08-05] 

Although the letter [from Mr McLoughlin] explicitly mentions Tring, Mr Penning said he was trying to find out what it meant for other stops along the line.

The news comes as a blow to commuters, who thought the extension would take the pressure off the line into Euston during the construction of the HS2 high-speed rail link.

As the Beleben blog pointed out at the time, Crossrail 1 to Tring could not offer much disruption alleviation for HS2. When the government eventually realised that, they pulled the plug.

However, it is interesting to consider the connectivity benefits of allowing commuter trains to serve a number of locations in the centre of London. According to the Department for Transport, Tring Crossrail via Old Oak Common would have meant ‘faster journeys to central London’ than via Euston. But the Department contrarily claimed that HS2 and Crossrail, changing at Old Oak Common, would mean ‘slower journeys to central London’, than via Euston.

What is the likely explanation for this doublethink?

If HS2 were terminated at Old Oak Common, the land grab at Euston would be in jeopardy. That fact must lie behind all the mendacity and dissemblance about ‘journey times’, and suchlike.

Patrick is #4

Written by beleben

November 7, 2016 at 3:29 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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HS2 Euston ‘faster for Docklands’, claims Rupert Walker

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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.

Written by beleben

September 9, 2015 at 2:08 pm

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HS2: we want more disruption, says Camden council

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HS2 Euston interior, Grimshaw architects, Sep 2015

Camden council have “warned” that HS2 Ltd’s latest plans for Euston station, to be submitted to Parliament next week (‘HS2 Euston 4.0’?), “will bring more than a decade of blight without any benefit to London unless there is a commitment to the redevelopment of the entire Euston station and a joined up approach to the delivery of station proposals”. The plans are proposed for inclusion in the High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill by means of an Additional Provision which is due to be deposited later this month, subject to the approval of Parliament.

[London, 8 September 2015
HS2: Government’s Euston plans “let down Londoners”, say Camden Council, extracts]

Camden Council have warned that HS2 Ltd.’s plans for Euston Station will bring more than a decade of blight without any benefit to London unless there is a commitment to the redevelopment of the entire Euston station and a joined up approach to the delivery of station proposals.

Government changes to the London terminus for High Speed 2 (HS2) announced today (Tuesday, 8 September) in Additional Provision 3 (AP3) to the HS2 Bill show the new HS2 tracks being built in two phases, with no timescale, funding or design specified for the redevelopment of the existing Euston Station.

The Euston Area Plan, adopted by Camden Council and the Greater London Authority, shows how up to 3,800 homes, up to 14,100 new jobs and new open space could be achieved through comprehensive development at Euston with the HS2 tracks and existing tracks all on one level.

By not guaranteeing comprehensive development, the Government’s plan risks creating a disjointed station with tracks on different levels that divides communities and fails to enhance the Euston area. The current plans could limit development opportunities, prevent easy access through the station in all directions to the surrounding area and potentially throw away up to 6,000 jobs, 1,000 homes and £400m of economic value.

As expected, the new Euston plans are quite vague, with a large ‘can-kicking’ aspect. The ‘phased’ development does have the atout of allowing headaches on HS2 phase two and over-site development to be left to somebody else.

Camden New Journal, new Euston plan coverage, 08 Sep 2015

[HS2 plans can unlock Euston potential, HS2 Ltd, 8 Sep 2015]

[…] Eleven new platforms for HS2 will be built at the station in two stages as part of a phased approach that means less disruption for passengers. The plans […] also offer the flexibility to transform the station into a thriving transport and community hub.

The new Euston station will provide high speed rail services from London to the Midlands, the North and Scotland. The latest plans, produced by HS2 Ltd following extensive work with rail industry partners and taking into account the aspiration for wider redevelopment, will unlock the potential at the site of the capital’s greatest regeneration opportunity.

The provision of underpinning support structures as part of the plans will allow a range of uses above the station, delivering the flexibility for a future decision on the wider redevelopment and regeneration of the area.

As well as the 11 high speed platforms provided by the new plan, 11 platforms will remain in the current station to serve the existing network. There will be new public spaces for shops, restaurants and cafes.

[…] Simon Kirby, HS2 Ltd Chief Executive, said:

These firm proposals will allow Euston to fulfil its potential.

It’s time for Euston to change. Not just if it is to fulfil its historic role as the gateway between London and much of the rest of the country, but also if it’s to become a much bigger and fully accessible part of its own community.

Just a stone’s throw away, we have seen how the stations at King’s Cross and St. Pancras have transformed the surrounding areas into vibrant and thriving locations.

In essence, Camden council are complaining about the disruption of redeveloping Euston, while arguing that there should be more redevelopment (and disruption).

Why Simon Kirby regards the Kings Cross / St Pancras redevelopments as a ‘success’, is difficult to understand. Because of botched decision-making, at neither station is there the possibility of much expansion of main line rail capacity.

Privatisation of public space: the Kings Cross redevelopment

Privatisation of public space: the Kings Cross redevelopment

Written by beleben

September 8, 2015 at 12:29 pm

Posted in HS2

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Return of the shed

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On 23 February, HS2’s Rupert Walker revealed the latest tranche of design slides for Euston station at a private meeting of rail officials and Camden community representatives, wrote Tom Foot. It appears that George Osborne’s plans to create “Oligarchograd” above and around the station are in jeopardy.

[HS2 chiefs set abandon plans to demolish Euston station with move back to old scheme, Tom Foot, The Camden New Journal, 24 February, 2015]

[…] The slides show a return to the idea of wedging a shed containing six high speed rail platforms on the west side of Euston Station, which would open in 2026. Five more platforms would be built inside the current station after 2034 in a move that could extend building works in Camden into the 2040s.

This new “phase 1” of HS2 – the third different official proposal for Euston by HS2 Ltd in the last two years – would cost around £2.6 billion, officials told the meeting.

The blackest sheep

The blackest sheep

Written by beleben

February 24, 2015 at 4:36 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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Camden to the rescue

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As the HS2 project teeters on the edge of self-destruction, a perhaps unexpected would-be saviour has emerged, in the form of Camden council. It has effectively dropped its opposition to the scheme, and is co-operating with Network Rail and HS2 Ltd. The U-turn appears to be confirmed by news that the council is “pressing ahead quickly” with contract plans to ‘decant’ households from their existing accommodation by the summer of 2017.

Written by beleben

November 26, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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All hands off deck

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Minutes from the 9 October 2014 Euston Opportunity Area Planning Framework strategic board meeting revealed that work had stopped on the “more ambitious” total rebuild of Euston station. The intention is to part-fund Euston HS2 by intensive real-estate development above and around the tracks, but the sums haven’t been adding up. Evidently, the oligarch : affordable split isn’t right, and the skyscrapers, not high enough.

Euston OAPF Strategic Board meeting, 9 Oct 2014, page 01

Euston OAPF Strategic Board meeting, 9 Oct 2014, page 02

Euston OAPF Strategic Board meeting, 9 Oct 2014, page 03

Euston OAPF Strategic Board meeting, 9 Oct 2014, page 04

It is hard to think of an example of high quality real-estate development over main line tracks. Montparnasse, Cannon Street, and Birmingham New Street are all pretty awful at platform level.

Euston  OAPF boundary

Written by beleben

November 18, 2014 at 11:45 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2, Politics

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HS2 Euston preparatory works

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According to the David Higgins HS2 Plus report, the target date for opening HS2 phase one is December 2026, with ‘preparatory works’ commencing at Euston in mid 2015. But like many other aspects of HS2, what ‘preparatory works’ means, is unclear. It seems likely that the form Euston advance works would take, would depend on the design adopted for the station itself.

HS2 Plus recommended that ‘a more comprehensive redevelopment‘ of Euston should be implemented (in place of the lower-cost-lower-disruption annexe scheme put forward in April 2013). The construction and disruption management plans for a ‘complete rebuild’ option would be quite different. Implementing a complete rebuild would increase the size of the question marks over the December 2026 target operating date, and “£50 billion” budget.

Because of the scale of the costs involved, the property tax clawback from an intensive redevelopment at Euston is unlikely to cover the additional costs of making provision for that redevelopment. How much the shortfall would be is difficult to gauge because, at present, there is no transparency about HS2 construction costs for individual stations, structures, or sections of line.

Written by beleben

May 8, 2014 at 1:36 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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HS2 and Euston classic capacity

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The HS2 scheme would release capacity on two of the six classic tracks out of Euston (the two Fast Lines). In the Department for Transport’s October 2013 Strategic Case for HS2, it was proposed that most of the capacity on the West Coast Fast Lines would be re-used for outer suburban commuter fast services.

Department for Transport explanation of Euston Fast and Relief lines capacity, pre- and post- HS2

Department for Transport explanation of Euston Fast and Relief lines capacity, pre- and post- HS2. “390 D” = 11-car Pendolino with 1 ‘seconded’ carriage; “390 Suburban” = 11-car Pendolino with 2 seconded carriages. The Department declined to provide details of current Euston service consists, citing commercial confidentiality.

As can be seen, the Department has proposed increasing commuter fast capacity fourfold over the 2013 level, but commuter slow capacity by only two thirds. Why the uplift for longer-distance commuting is larger than for shorter-distance, has not been explained. (Also unexplained is the anticipated commuting demand uplift expected on other corridors into London.)

HS2 has been derided as a ‘predict and provide’ scheme, but as far as London commuting is concerned, there is not really much ‘predict’ involved, only ‘provide’. The Beleben blog has been unable to find published information on current or anticipated levels of London commuting demand from Milton Keynes, Tring, Hemel Hempstead, etc.

Sadly, Network Rail’s HS2 “information” sheets for Milton Keynes, Berkhamsted, Leighton Buzzard, and Northampton are just boilerplate PR-speak, with no useful information at all.

Written by beleben

April 10, 2014 at 10:25 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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The tip of the iceberg

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Even if the Camden HS2 – HS1 link were ditched, the likelihood is that building HS2 would still be more disruptive to the national transport system than an upgrade-based approach such as RP6. As the Beleben blog noted in July 2011, building HS2 necessitates extensive disruption to existing railways, in multiple locations, over an extended period.

Now, following a freedom of information request by the HS2 Action Alliance, some details of prospective HS2-related disruption to the classic rail system have emerged.

[“Millions will face transport chaos because HS2 work ‘will cause a decade of disruption on West Coast mainline'”, Ray Massey, Daily Mail, 7 March 2014]

Internal documents seen by the Mail reveal forecasts that show punctuality and performance will ‘be likely to worsen by between 4 and 8 per cent’ though warns ‘bad days would be significantly worse’.

Until now, passengers have been unaware of the full extent to which their conventional long-distance and commuter lines face disruption while platforms at Euston are closed and services cut to make way for the new HS2 line.
[…]
Campaigners against the scheme say the problems unearthed are just ‘the tip of the iceberg’.

The FOI documents reveal

* Disruption to services for at least ten years from December 2016

* Rail bosses are confident ‘works don’t have a catastrophic effect on existing services’ only ‘from 2017 onwards’

* For the rest of the time performance will be ‘fragile’

* Fewer than 60 per cent of long-distance services will arrive on time

* ‘Significant’ weekend and Bank Holiday closures with widespread disruption in holiday periods including Christmas

* Platform numbers at Euston reduced from 18 to 13, with the number of approach tracks reduced from six to four

* Virgin train services will have to leave Euston just 25 minutes after arrival, leaving little time for servicing and cleaning

* Passengers face a 22 per cent shortfall in capacity in suburban services to major commuter stations such as Harrow and Wealdstone, Watford, Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted.

* Construction could result in a reduction in Birmingham and Manchester train from three to two an hour

If George Osborne’s vision of a total redevelopment of the Euston site were implemented, there would be a corresponding increase in the scale of disruption.

Written by beleben

March 7, 2014 at 11:48 am

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Labour’s £50 billion HS2 cheque

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Labour seem to be content to 'Chuka lotta munna' at HS2

Labour seem to be content to Chuka lotta money at HS2. The “£50.1 billion” figure is not even at 2013 prices.

The Labour Party cannot – and will not – give the Government a blank cheque for HS2, wrote Shadow Secretary of State for Transport Mary Creagh (LabourList, 27 Oct 2013). But they are apparently, willing to write a £50.1 billion cheque.

David Cameron is apparently confused about what job he’s doing. On Friday he seemed to say it was up to Labour to decide whether the new high speed line, HS2, should go ahead. As the Shadow Transport Secretary I’m obviously flattered that the Tories want to hand over the keys without even waiting for the election. But as a taxpayer, and a rail user, it’s far from reassuring that David Cameron doesn’t seem to think it’s his job to get a grip of a huge project starting on his watch.

Labour has always supported HS2 and the idea of a new North-South rail link because of capacity constraints on the existing rail network. Last year, over 1.5 billion journeys were made on the rail network, with 4,000 more train services a day than in the mid-1990s. The increase in rail usage during our time in Government was a record to be proud of. But too many people each day now endure cramped, miserable journeys into cities like Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and London. Our support for a North-South line rests on tackling that capacity problem and supporting a 21st Century transport network.

But our support for it is not at any cost. The Labour Party cannot – and will not – give the Government a blank cheque. That is what you would expect from any credible official opposition seeing a Government desperately mismanaging a project. And that is what is happening here with the cost having shot up to £50bn. David Cameron and George Osborne are determined to go full steam ahead with this project, whatever the cost. Labour will not take this irresponsible approach. We will go ahead with the project if the costs are brought under control and are outweighed by the benefits of doing so. But if those conditions aren’t met we won’t go ahead regardless because we need to ensure that this is the best way to spend £50 billion for the future of our country.

That’s why if David Cameron really cares about HS2 the best thing he could do is to get control of the spiralling budget. Rather than abdicating responsibility as he seems to be trying to do he should be getting a grip and bringing down its costs.

On Thursday, Labour will vote in favour of the Paving Bill to allow preparatory expenditure on the scheme while maintaining pressure on the Government to get the costs under control. We will lay amendments to ensure that the Government is delivering value for money and to hold it to account. […]

Is Labour’s record of managing large projects better than the coalition’s? The cost overruns and output failures on projects such as the 2012 Olympics, West Coast Modernisation, Nimrod AEW3, and NHS information technology would suggest not. Neither Ms Creagh nor Ed Balls have explained how Labour would get HS2 costs ‘under control’, and their rationale for supporting the project is at odds with the facts.

The idea that HS2 would mean an end to “cramped, miserable journeys into cities like Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and London” has no basis in reality, as would be seen from a moment’s glance of the rail maps for those cities. HS2 offers no capacity enhancement on most routes into Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester, and London. In essence, a pound invested in HS2 is a pound not invested in local transport in the provincial cities.

By far the largest rail passenger flows, and capacity issues, are on the London commuter network, especially the former Southern and Eastern Regions. Arrivals and departures at Euston are little more 5% of London peak traffic and the majority of journeys into and out of that station are shorter than 100 km.

Written by beleben

October 27, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Posted in HS2

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