HS2’s plans for Euston don’t add up and are a matter of serious concern
09 November, 2017
• THE imminent closure of Cardington Street, on the west side of Euston station, and reports that a resident in nearby Cobourg Street has been threatened with forced eviction, make it clear that HS2 Ltd are determined to push through with the demolitions needed for its new “HS2 Euston station”.
The Camden Civic Society is very concerned that this should be happening when, as far as we can ascertain, HS2 Ltd do not yet have a feasible scheme for bringing their trains into the station through the narrowest point of the “approach”, where Mornington Street bridge crosses the Camden Cutting.
In August last year we heard from Camden that HS2 Ltd were working on a further alternative for this stretch of the line, involving more tunnelling than the AP3 “birdcage” proposal attached to the HS2 bill.
This new scheme was announced officially in March this year but HS2 Ltd have continued to refuse to produce details of it.
Then, in last month’s edition of Rail Professional magazine, we read in an article by Lord Berkeley that HS2 Ltd are now looking at a different alternative which would move the tunnels away from the perilously unsound Park Village East retaining wall towards the east side of the cutting.
But this newest proposal is apparently not feasible either, because of the risk to the stability of the existing Network Rail tracks.
We have also been told that HS2 Ltd have investigated the feasibility of a large nine-platform station at Old Oak Common; this could only mean that they have been considering making Old Oak Common the terminus for HS2 instead of Euston.
The impetus to press on at Euston, regardless of the great difficulties designing the railway, is surely a consequence of the importance to the funding of the whole HS2 scheme of the “over site” and other commercial development envisaged for the enlarged station.
A story in the Architects’ Journal for October 31 quotes Sir Terry Farrell, architect for the KPF/Argent bid to become Euston’s master planners: “Euston is a piece of city-making first and a railway station second. I’m told 60 per cent of people who go to St Pancras don’t even go to catch trains.”
Camden Council, for reasons of its own (and against the interests of existing residents), is almost equally anxious that this commercial development should take place.
This was confirmed at a meeting with planning officers on October 12 when we were told that Camden still saw it necessary to offer up for development two sites actually on the existing Euston Square Gardens; as set out in our letter to the New Journal of March 30 2017.
This proposal is a highly objectionable on many grounds.
Chair of the Camden Civic Society