The Independent London Newspaper
26th July 2014

Letters

'It's set in stone': Justine Greening tells the New Journal HS2 rail route will go to Euston

Justine Greening at King's Cross

Published: 14 March, 2012
by DAN CARRIER

TRANSPORT Secretary Justine Greening last night (Wednesday) told the New Journal that plans to terminate the High Speed 2 rail link at Euston are now “set in stone”.

She slammed the door shut on campaigners still hoping Camden could escape the disruption caused by the London to Birmingham HS2 route.

We buttonholed Ms Greening as she joined celebrations at King’s Cross station at the official opening of a new concourse to ask her whether objections to the Euston plan are holding any weight at Westminster.

In a reply that will devastate protesters, she said: “We have chosen Euston for a number of reasons and we feel Euston is clearly the best option. I have met with councillors and others to speak to them to make sure when we bring in HS2 to Euston it will help regenerate the area and will bring opportunities to the area.”

Objectors had been trying to convince Ms Greening that it would be better for the rail link to terminate at Old Oak Common in west London. Around 500 homes face the bulldozer if the £17billion project goes ahead and there are warnings a whole community will be devastated.

Concerns about disruption run from the curry houses of Drummond Street to users of the north London overground, both of which are expected to be swept up in the route.

People living in Primrose Hill, meanwhile, fear that a tunnel carrying the trains could cause damage to their streets.

Ms Greening added: “I promise we will minimise the disruption to local people. There is a real opportunity to get the most out of the investment that HS2 will bring to Camden.”

Asked whether the Euston plan was “set in stone”, she said: “Yes, it is.”

Ms Greening claimed that the work at King’s Cross and St Pancras showed how railway renovation projects could bring massive boosts.

She said: “People will see that when we start our priority is to get it right. We can use it to make a difference and make something unique.”

At first it looked unlikely she would speak to the New Journal as her press team suggested we should simply use quotes from a press release they had written earlier about King’s Cross. But eventually, after the opening ceremony and speeches were complete, her press officers said the New Journal was allowed “two minutes to ask one question”.

Ms Greening said she had heard the case from Camden councillors to use the currently empty National Temperance Hospital on Hampstead Road for new housing to replace those lost and that she would be willing to meet traders in Drummond Street.

Ms Greening was joined at the event by London Mayor Boris Johnson and TV presenter Kevin McCloud. Other guests included Camden councillors and former Tory defence minister Michael Portillo.

FORUM: 'Doing nothing is not an option, HS2 is the way forward' (click here)

Comments

Drummond Street

The new station isn't going to sweep away the curry houses - that end of Drummond Street will be untouched. The only parts of Drummond Street to be built over are the Ibis hotel, the photography shop and the power station for the Northern Line which has been an eyesore for years.

Euston for HS2

Still seems odd picking Euston. The area is 6 miles from the economic heart of London, so high speed travellers (well, commuters from Birmingham to jobs in London) will need to get onto crowded, stopping, services to reach their destination which just slows their journey down!
In case no-one has noticed, the centre of London is moving South-East fast! Think TechCity; London 2012 rejuvenation; Thames Gateway . . . .
Or is the hope that HS2 will somehow help regenerate Euston as people living there will now have easy access to the North?

Let's get on with it!!!

Happy to see Justine Greening providing some clarity and certainty here. Of course those impacted would like to move the site of disruption somewhere else - that's a perfectly natural reaction.

A Greater St. Pancras/King Cross Terminus would have been ideal but true to form the overriding imperativeof a quick return means the land around the area is already sold off/contractually allocated - symptomatic of the absence of long term planning endemic within the UK way of doing things. At least there is an element of future proofing incorporated into HS2, with a physical upper limit of 400km/h (250mph) facilitating faster trains as and when energy efficiency improvements emerge.

Unfortunately the UK's entrenched island mentality seems to preclude perceptions of HS2 (and HS1 for that matter) as integral elements of a wider pan-European High Speed network, which is exactly what they are (will be)!

HS2 is simply not good enough

HS2 is like HS1 still Victorian technilogy tarted up for the C21.

What we need to do is generate a radical improvement in technology. By going to maglev trains in vacuum tubes in an alinmnet of a funnel bored in the strigtest possible line beteen London and Birmingham under the motorways M40 and existing railways we can have speeds of 500kph to 5000kph. Much above 2000kph we'd only need one bore.

The tunnel wouldn't need to be very deep, and the planning issues would be minimal. It would only yake about 2 years to grind one's way to Brum at speed dimilar to the digging of the Chunnel.

Don't say it can't be done. Embrace the future and prove it can.

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