‘Unachievable’ HS2 or ‘just rubbish’: What Londoners say about Euston and the government’s rail project
A “red” warning was given this week to the first two phases of HS2 - and work on the Euston terminus is already paused.
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The latest in a series of bad school reports for HS2 was an assessment this week of “unachievable” by a government watchdog, while one Londoner travelling through Euston went a step further: “It’s just rubbish.”
LondonWorld was out around Euston, speaking to travellers following the “red” warning given to the rail project’s first two phases - London to Birmingham, and on to Crewe - by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority.
The HS2 rail line project aims to create a high-speed, high-capacity and low-carbon-emission railway, but it has been beset by criticism over costs and environmental impact.
Earlier this year, the government confirmed work on the project between west London and Brimingham would continue - but that while it is “committed” to the final stretch to Euston, it is being delayed “to develop a more affordable scheme design”. The price had reached about is £4.8 billion – around £2.2 billion over HS2 Ltd’s budget, according to the government.
The Old Oak Common station, between Acton and Willesden Junction in west London, is due to open in the early 2030s, but concerns have been raised about the capacity of the Elizabeth line to connect it to central London without significant funding.
We asked Londoners outside Euston station for their thoughts on HS2.
Haytham said: “I would prefer that this money be spent on modernising the railways that we already have, especially in the North and the Midlands instead, and interconnecting cities that are not central to London. So, for example, connections between major cities that are not necessarily London would be a better idea.”
Charlotte was positive about the project.
“I think it would be useful,” she said. “I’ve got lots of mates from Birmingham and they never really go to London because of the hassle, so it would make a lot of sense.
“If they’ve already started it, why not finish it? If there’s already so much money put into it, they may as well continue and complete it.”
Vic supported its development, comparing it to the success in the last year of the Elizabeth line.
“Yeah, I think it’s a good idea,” he said. “We had the Elizabeth line...there was a big buzz about it....people wanted this network rail and easy access from Essex into London.”
Tommy said: “It’s a bit like someone’s on an earn somewhere…
“A lot of people have paid for what’s happened so far and it just feels like really there should have been enough foresight. It’s just rubbish.”