Posted 17th March 2014 | 9 Comments

Euston and Crewe at heart of Higgins HS2 plan

THE eagerly-awaited report looking at the timing and costs of building Britain's first domestic High Speed railway is published today by David Higgins, the new chairman of HS2 Ltd. He wants a more ambitious redevelopment of London Euston station and the line to be extended to a major transport hub at Crewe by 2027, six years sooner than planned. He also believes the whole ‘Y’ network could be completed up to three years earlier, by 2030.

“I propose the Government should look at a more comprehensive redevelopment of Euston – a solution that could truly stand the test of time and allow the station to join St Pancras and King’s Cross as an iconic driver of local regeneration whose beneficial effects will be felt for generations,” he says.

“Equally, I propose the Government should accelerate phase two as soon as possible to take the line 43 miles further north than planned in phase one, to a new transport hub at Crewe which could be completed by 2027, six years earlier than planned.

“It is the right strategic answer, and not just for the area around Crewe: it would also deliver the benefits of HS2 – in terms of better services to the North – much sooner.”

However, after “an exhaustive review of the costs outlined in the first phase of the project” David Higgins proposes no change yet in the outline budget –firmly passing responsibility back to politicians and making clear that “the key variable” is the length of time that legislation will take. “That is a matter for Government and Parliament,” he states.

But there is a possibility that a lower budget for phase one could be set at some point in the future “when the legislative timetable becomes clearer and more certain.”

David Higgins is in no doubt of the overall need for HS2. He says: “Without HS2, the people of this country will continue to face the failures of our transport system on a daily basis.

“With it, they will begin to see a strategic answer that can deliver real benefits within the foreseeable future. That is why, I believe, HS2 is a project which, despite the issues it raises, is in the national interest.”

Higgins report in detail

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Melvyn Windebank, Canvey Island, Essex

    I wonder how many people who say Old Oak Common is fine actually know where it is ?

    Well Old Oak Common is just south of Willesden Junction and is nowhere near Central London in fact it is more remote than many of the HS2 stations suggested for other cities !

    The rebuild of Euston makes sense given the rebuild in the 1960s did little for the actual railway lines which I have read are closer together at the Southern end of WCML than normal making single line working difficult and was given as a reason why a link between DC lines and main lines at Watford Junction was planned in order that DC lines could be used for through services while AC lines were closed for engineering works.

    The reality is Euston is just a massive hole in Central London surrounded by old run down buildings and so a comprehensive development could provide billions of pounds from development to offset the cost of HS2 and bring the benefits now being built at nearby Kings Cross/St Pancras .

    The suggestion re Crewe makes sense as it overcomes the impression of HS2 being just London to Birmingham and with HS2 the suggestion of moving Crewe Station to a new location allows both to be done as a single project saving time and money and maybe speeding up existing services ahead of opening of HS2.

  • moomo, wirral

    The devil will be in the detail of the Crewe hub.

    1) Will it access HS2 in both northerly and southerly directions?
    2) Will it have 400m platforms to allow the joining and splitting of trains?
    3) Will enough trains (and seats) be allowed to stop there, and will they stop at an adequate frequency?
    4) Will the flying junction at Lichfield still be built?
    5) Will Liverpool continue to have a direct service, and if so, where will its trains diverge from HS2?
    6) Will the WCML between Crewe and Weaver Junction be upgraded?

    Get the answers right and this could be a good idea. Get them wrong and it would be a colossal waste of money.

  • Jonathan Brain, Hertfordshire

    I don't recall seeing any mention of how HS2 might benefit South of Thames - Southampton / Brighton.

    An HS2 station at Old Oak Common instead of Euston would still provide good access to Central London using Cross-rail, connections to Overground and give the possibility of a Southern extension towards Woking area, Gatwick Airport and onward for a connection to HS1.

  • Roshan, Leeds

    I think the next big high-speed projects should be connecting Liverpool-Manchester-Leeds and also exteding HS2 to Edinburgh and Glasgow so it parallels the WCML and ECML and passes through Newcastle. They really should consider the HS1 link so that the North of England can be connected to Europe. Also they should consider reducing the speed of HS2. 400km/h is excessive in my opinion and lower speeds like 320km/h will allow better integration with the existing system and lower energy consumption. Also, it will allow the route to avoid the Chilterns which would silence a lot of the critics.

  • munchkjn, manchester

    Crossrail and Crossrail 2 are in the 100 m per mile ball park. If that sort of infrastructure spend is good enough for London which already has a sophisticated network, then why not the northern cities which have a comparable combined population to London. Further investment beyond the northern hub is required. London still enjoys 10 times the per capita infrastructure spend of other regions in UK which is frankly ridiculous.

  • Jim Campbell, Birmingham

    Tony Pearce asks which airport should be developed for the growth in International traffic. Clearly it has to be Birmingham, at the heart of the network, and I say that as someone living next door to it.
    Still a bent tern solution ought to be through high s peed rail services which seem to be being ruled out by not connecting HS2 to HS1.

  • Tony Pearce, Reading

    This is transport planning bit-by-bit. It seems to be trying to make HS2 profitable (and politically acceptable) rather than addressing the growth needs of the UK. The crucial bit which is missing is which airport is being expanded to take the growth in International Travel. The only bit of this plan which I have seen thats makes any sort of Economic sense is the Birmingham to London bit, and I still think connecting it directly to HS1 will be necessary at some point rather than Euston.

  • John Band, Guildford

    Munchkin, the Northern Hub project already under way is all about improving Liverpool-Manchester-Leeds and beyond. It involves electrification, the Ordsall curve, higher speeds and a major rebuild of Manchester Victoria, all of which will be finished years ahead of HS2. The key to HS2 is running 20,000 people an hour up or down between Birmingham and London, with perhaps 10,000 an hour going up and down each side of the "Y". The Manchester-Leeds traffic is a tiny fraction of this. which is why it qualifies for decent investment but not a 100 million pound a mile 200 mph route.

  • Munchkjn, Manchester

    The Y shape serves to divide the connectivity between Leeds-Manchester. It says "all important journeys are North-South".

    We should be looking at a Leeds-Manchester-Liverpool (East-West) HS2 line to boost connections bewtween the North's cities. This will drive regeneration and business in the region.

    Then a connection south with will be a T not a Y.

    The plan currently is still too London centric.