Plans for HS2’s station at Euston to be built in two stages and to have 11 platforms have been changed by the government to a slightly smaller station with ten platforms, to be built in one single phase.
The decision to cut Euston station down to ten platforms was revealed in the six-monthly report released by HS2 minister Andrew Stephenson earlier today.
The original plan had been to build the HS2 Euston station in two phases, with phase one was scheduled for completion in 2026, and phase two in 2033. The decision to switch to a single phase for the delivery of the station is to reduce the cost and time taken to build the station, but due to how it impacts on the existing Euston station, they can only deliver ten platforms instead of the original 11 that were planned.
There has been considerable pressure to retain the full 11 platforms, as the extra platform offers a buffer to help recover services in case of problems. However, HS2 argues that its latest review of timetabling for the new line indicates that it wouldn’t need the extra platform after all, while still meeting the planned 17 trains per hour at Euston when the line is fully operational.
If that extra platform can safely be removed, then the cost and time savings of building the station on one single stage would be worth it, but it’s entirely dependent on there being absolute certainty that the extra platform definitely won’t be needed.
In the meantime, HS2 and Network Rail are working on how they can have a greater integration between HS2 and the associated upgrades of the Network Rail side of the station.
At the moment, the site is in the enabling work’s stage, clearing the site for construction work, moving buried utilities and building the retaining walls that are needed to let them dig down to the level that the HS2 platforms will be based at, along with the considerably larger London Underground station that’s needed.
As Euston station is likely to be completed after HS2 railway is ready, funding has been released to lift Old Oak Common station from 3 to 6 trains per hour whilst it acts as the temporary London terminus.
Phase 1 of the HS2 line, which is between London and Birmingham remains on target to come into service between 2029-33 following a post-covid review of the construction sites to re-sequence them to deliver a schedule that reflects an increasingly mature understanding of the years of works ahead.
There is a risk though of some minor delays in the southern section of the line-of-route and tunnels leading into Old Oak Common from outer London, and HS2 is working on how to control that risk.
Phase 2a, which extends the line from Birmingham to Crewe is now expected to come into service between 2030-34. On Phase 2b, which takes it up to Manchester, preparations are underway for a hybrid Bill for the Western Leg to be deposited in Parliament in early 2022.
Plans for the eastern spur to Leeds are still being debated.