Camden residents are hoping new mayor Sadiq Khan will put paid to plans for a new rail terminus for the HS2 rail line at Euston.
Khan has said he will be reviewing the current proposals, which see the Department of Transport planning the southern end of the line at Euston. However, comments from transport chiefs suggest any lobbying may fall on deaf ears.
Residents in Camden have been talking of “a decade of disruption” if the current plans are executed, and the mayor appears to have taken their argument on board, talking of “huge inconvenience”. The redevelopment of the existing station could provide a new stop on the proposed Crossrail 2 line, as well as being the terminus for the new HS2 line, linking London by fast rail to Birmingham and beyond. The new line is now expected to be completed by 2033.
Khan told LBC radio: “I’ve got concerns whether Euston is the right station for the London part of HS2. The disruption during the building works will cause huge inconvenience, as well as the number of homes being destroyed during construction works.”
“One of the things I’m looking into is whether you should look at Old Oak Common as a temporary station until some of the issues are dealt with. You’d have fast links with Heathrow, fast links to Crossrail and also far less disruption.”
But a HS2 spokesman told the Evening Standard: “We are committed to Euston as the London terminus for HS2. The majority of passengers travelling to London on HS2 will want to travel to the centre of the capital. Crossrail would not have the capacity to cope with additional demand from terminating HS2 services at Old Oak Common.”
And a transport department comment added: “HS2 is vital for the future of our railways, and will improve connectivity, promote growth and regeneration, and create thousands of jobs. A revamped Euston station will play a crucial role in delivering these benefits, enabling passengers to travel directly into central London as quickly as possible. Terminating at Old Oak Common would not provide the same benefits.
“With a project of this scale, some disruption is necessary, but we expect HS2 Ltd to put a robust plan in place to manage any impact on residents and passengers.”
Meanwhile, Transport for London chief Mike Brown is looking to build a decent working relationship with Khan, after the organisation appeared to side with his opponent Zac Goldsmith during the election campaign. TfL questioned the cost of Khan’s proposed fares freeze, though it appears their figures were then used by the Tories to suggest their opponents had not costed the policy.
Helping the mayor in his battles to come will be newly appointed Val Shawcross, his deputy mayor for transport, and deputy chair of Transport for London; and Lord Adonis, who is to chair the Crossrail 2 board.
LPA Perspective: The residents of Camden seem a particularly truculent lot, complaining about something that is a long way from construction. This as those in other parts of the capital – and plenty of commuters – endure the temporary inconvenience delivered by the construction of Crossrail and other projects such as the reconstruction of Victoria underground interchange. To transform a city’s infrastructure, some temporary inconvenience is inevitable.
But the mayor’s powers are limited, and he needs to build bridges with the transport departments, to get a fair deal for London.
However, he does need to keep on at those same transport departments. Recent revelations of what has already been built at Old Oak Common has raised questions about the competence of those managing long term planning, after it was discovered that some of the rail infrastructure there is already being built in a way that could compromise further development of the area.