Published: 18th September 2015
Euston station will be the subject of a massive upgrade to enable High Speed 2 (HS2) to use it as its London terminus. The start of the high speed rail journey to London will commence with the slow Parliamentary process required to obtain Planning Consent. Once completed Euston’s place at the heart of the country’s transport network will be secured says the Bill’s promoters.
The station will have to remain open while the redevelopment takes place and HS2s eleven new platforms will be constructed in two stages. This will allow the station to continue to operate for the 71 million passengers that use it annually. The plans will be considered by Parliament are intended to transform the station into a thriving transport and community hub.
Once completed, Euston will offer high speed services to the Midlands, the North and Scotland using the Y-shaped HS2 network. HS2 Ltd has produced the plans following extensive consultation with the rail industry and looking at the area’s redevelopment and subsequent regeneration. The station will be underpinned to allow construction to take place above the station for whatever is required.
Euston currently has 18 platforms and a couple of sidings and the plans show that at least 11 platforms will always remain in use while the building is underway. The first construction phase will see six high speed platforms and HS2 section one concourse (to the west of the station) built to be used from 2026 to Birmingham Curzon Street.
A further five new high speed platforms and concourse for HS2 Phase two will then be built for the start of services beyond the Midlands in 2033,
The scheme may also see the redevelopment of the remaining platforms and concourses dependent on future funding and approvals. London Underground facilities at Euston will be significantly upgraded offering a roomier circulation area with connections to public transport and to a new ticket hall and direct subway to Euston Square a few hundred yards away.
Simon Kirby, HS2 Ltd Chief Executive said “These firm proposals will allow Euston to fulfil its potential. It’s time for Euston to change. Not just if it is to fulfil its historic role as the gateway between London and much of the rest of the country, but also if it’s to become a much bigger and fully accessible part of its own community.
Just a stone’s throw away, we have seen how the stations at King’s Cross and St. Pancras have transformed the surrounding areas into vibrant and thriving locations.
We must replicate and build on that commercial and architectural success. Now is the time for Euston to catch up with its neighbours to meet the requirements of the 21st century and beyond.
Rupert Walker, Euston Development Director for HS2 Ltd and Network Rail, said: “Euston needs to become a station that both the nation and local community can be proud of – and share. It will be the best connected station in London; a crossroads between the north and the south, quickly and easily accessible from all parts of the capital and, with HS2, the country.
This will take time and inevitably cause disruption to both the community and commuters as we work to bring about change but at each stage we will do our best to explain what we are doing, and why, as well as listening to ideas about what the new Euston should look and feel like.
We will also set out at each stage how we will try to minimise the impact of the work and attempt to respond to concerns from both the community and passengers, learning from experiences on other major projects.
The plans are proposed for inclusion in the High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill by means of an Additional Provision (AP) which is due, subject to the approval of Parliament, to be deposited later this month.
“HS2 offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to revolutionise not just Euston station but a whole area at the heart of London. Euston needs to become a station that both the nation and local community can be proud of – and share. It will be the best connected station in London: a crossroads between the north and the south, quickly and easily accessible from all parts of the capital and, with HS2, the country.
"This will take time and inevitably cause disruption to both the community and commuters as we bring about change but at each stage we will do our best to explain what we are doing and why, as well as listening to ideas about how the new Euston should look and feel."
Euston was the first long distance inter-city railway station opening in 1837 with local services and in September 1838 with trains to Birmingham. The line was built by The London and Birmingham Railway (LBR) whose HQ was in Wolverton, half way between Euston and Birmingham Curzon Street. This will be the terminus of HS2 section 1 in a neat twist of historical fate!
The London & North Western Railway soon took over the LBR and in 1923 became The London Midland & Scottish Railway.
The ‘old Euston’ was demolished in the mid 1960s when the West Coast Main Line was electrified and the new modern station was designed to cater for 20 million passengers a year. Rail authorities say that 71 million passengers use the station every year now and that continuing growth is unsustainable.
The Queen opened the new station nearly 50 years ago and the only section of Victorian built station left are two stone lodges built in 1870 outside the station front. Many are proposing that the redevelopment should include a new Euston Arch originally built as a propylaeum in the Doric style, completed in May 1838. The L&NWR opened The Great Hall on 27th May 1849. Both were demolished in 1961/2.
A book was published in 2013 to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the L&BR with many illustrations from Victorian times and also looks behind the scenes at The Royal Train based at Wolverton for over 150 years.