Bringing HS2 to Euston will need ‘compromise’ says minister


Extending HS2 to Euston will involve “careful prioritisation of requirements” and “compromise”, the rail minister has warned.

Huw Merriman told MPs the Government is using the two-year suspension of work at the north London station to “develop a more affordable scheme” for the high-speed railway.

The Government announced in February that it was pausing HS2 work at Euston because costs had ballooned to £4.8 billion compared with an initial budget of £2.6 billion.

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In a written statement to Parliament, Mr Merriman said: “The station is not affordable at this cost, nor, in any case, does the Government have the financial headroom to proceed with the construction over the next two years.

“We will, therefore, use the time to look again at the Euston station design to ensure it delivers for passengers, the local community and taxpayers.

“This will include considering how we might partner with the private sector to capture benefits for customers.

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“It will require careful prioritisation of requirements and a willingness from stakeholders to compromise.”

Mr Merriman added that he visited the Euston site in April and “saw for myself the challenges of constructing a complex station in a dense urban environment”.

The project involves integrating HS2 services with the existing mainline railway and London Underground.

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HS2 trains are now not expected to run in to Euston until 2041 at the earliest after initially being scheduled for 2026.

Mr Merriman wrote that revised schedules will be confirmed once plans for Euston have been redeveloped.

A budget of £55.7 billion for the whole HS2 project was set in 2015.

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But the target cost excluding the eastern leg of Phase 2b from the West Midlands to the East Midlands has soared to between £53 billion and £61 billion (at 2019 prices).

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