‘Concerns’ about HS2 tunnel to Euston as TfL worries about effect on Elizabeth line

People navigate their way around hoardings surrounding the construction site for the HS2 High speed rail terminus at Euston Station on October 22, 2023 in London, England
-Credit: (Image: Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

Transport for London (TfL) has said that it has concerns relating to the funding and timing of the HS2 tunnel between Old Oak Common and Euston. The authority also says current plans could mean the Elizabeth line is 'significantly affected' by a surge in passengers.

The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, axed the project's northern leg last year, meaning Old Oak Common in West London - due to open at some point between 2029 and 2033 - will act as a 'temporary terminus' for HS2 in the capital. This may be the case for up to a decade.

HS2 bosses have previously told MyLondon that they are confident it will be able to cope with this situation, as passengers interchange between high speed, GWR, Heathrow Express and Elizabeth line services. But, in documents for this week's TfL Programmes and Investment Committee, bosses have said there are uncertainties over money and dates.

READ MORE: South London Underground station to get new look amid ‘safeguarding’ of Tube line extension

HS2's Old Oak Common station
Old Oak Common station is due to be finished at some point between 2029 and the early 2033 -Credit:Adam Toms/MyLondon

Papers state: "The Government’s Network North announcement in October 2023 significantly scaled back the project north of Birmingham and has led to a review of Euston station design and funding arrangements. In December 2023 the Government issued the Station Design Authority letter to HS2 concerning Euston, and we have continued to engage collaboratively with them and other Euston Partnership members including Network Rail, Department for Transport (DfT) and Lendlease, the masterplan development partner, in understanding the impacts of this change on us, our operations, passengers and London.

Need to reduce costs without affecting reliability of Tube

They add: "We are continuing to work with HS2 Ltd and partners on options to reduce costs while ensuring effective functionality of our infrastructure and operations, such as the London Underground and bus stations at Euston. Environmental requirements and carbon reduction targets for new or altered assets have been incorporated into the functional requirements and have been cascaded to the HS2 Ltd supply chain.

"With the link from Old Oak Common to Euston now delayed and concerns relating to the funding and timing of the tunnels from Old Oak Common to Euston, Old Oak Common will become a temporary terminus for HS2 services for up to a decade. We have made the case to the Government to procure additional Class 345 Elizabeth line trains to ensure sufficient capacity for passengers coming from HS2 services to continue their journey into central London.

Interior of an Elizabeth Line train in London
The Elizabeth line is getting more trains -Credit:Alex Segre/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

"There has been some progress in relation to the provision of level boarding for Elizabeth line rolling stock at Old Oak Common, with the DfT providing support for HS2 to undertake feasibility design work to investigate the lowering of tracks. We continue to actively engage with HS2 Ltd and Network Rail on this proposal."

Documents also read: "The pause of the Euston programme will mean that Old Oak Common station will be the London temporary terminus for around 10 years. This is a key interchange station for HS2, the Elizabeth line, and other existing rail services, as well as a site of major regeneration.

"The use of the station as a temporary HS2 terminus has the potential to significantly affect the Elizabeth line. It also reinforces the need for level boarding to be provided at Old Oak Common station for passengers interchanging between HS2 and Elizabeth line trains."

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