Planned HS2 link to Eurostar scrapped to save up to £700m

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The government’s decision to scrap proposals to link the controversial High Speed 2 rail route with the existing HS1 Channel Tunnel train line at St Pancras will save some money, but will it be enough to gain overwhelming support for the project?

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin confirmed the abandonment of the Euston-St Pancras link on Monday, following criticism from HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins.

Considering the two destinations are only a couple of hundred metres apart, Sir David said it would have been a disproportionate measure, affecting 9,000 jobs and 500 homes in Camden, and costing £700m.

In its place will be the redevelopment of Euston station, which is likely to still require millions of pounds of investment from the taxpayer.

Critics, such as Labour MP Frank Dobson, argue expanding Euston station will mean local residents will “for a decade be subjected to the noise, filth and destruction of the biggest engineering project in Europe”.

In his report to the government, HS2 Plus, Sir David also recommended changing the initial part of the project to operate from London to Crewe by 2027, instead of merely reaching Birmingham by 2026.

Saving time, and therefore money, building a new hub in the North West town would allow the second phase of HS2 to be finished three years early, by 2030.

The Engineer’s Stephen Harris criticised Sir David’s proposals for failing to outline a specific plan to start the second, northern half of the route, despite already promising an early completion. Furthermore, Harris points out that while another London station is likely to experience mass renovation, no extension has been offered to major cities like Liverpool.

Ultimately, if the development of HS2 is to stay on track, its promoters will have to prove that the balance between cost and value swings in their favour.

Jermaine Haughton is a journalist and digital media professional.

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