Thursday 5 March 2020 4:51 pm

HS2 could have planning problems without Crossrail 2, says HS2 boss

HS2 could run into planning problems if Crossrail 2 does not get the go-ahead, according to HS2’s chief executive.

Speaking to the Public Affairs Committee yesterday, Mark Thurston said HS2 chiefs had expected Crossrail 2 to be approved when drawing up plans for the high speed train line.

He added that the new Crossrail 2 Tube line was needed to cope with the expected influx of passengers at Euston station expected because of HS2.

Thurston said if the government does not approve Crossrail 2 – which would run through Euston – there would need to be a change in planning.

“The key decision for us is what happens on Crossrail 2, because Crossrail 2 will come through Euston,” he said.

“In the final scheme there’s an expectation to move people underground, you’d probably need Crossrail 2 – it’s clearly a big decision for government. 

“Without Crossrail 2 there would probably need to be a decision about what we do with the existing Euston station to cope with the full HS2 scheme without Crossrail 2.”

Boris Johnson recently confirmed HS2 would go ahead, despite expected costs doubling from £56bn to in excess of £100bn.

The high speed line – connecting London, Birmingham, Crewe, Manchester and Leeds – will go through Euston station and the as yet unbuilt Old Oak Common station.

Crossrail 2, on the other hand, has yet to receive a funding guarantee.

A spokesperson for advocacy group London First said HS2 and Crossrail 2 “must be built to complement each other”

They added: “HS2 will mean that hundreds of thousands more commuters will visit London via Euston station every day, and if their experience is to be positive we need to be able to prevent bottlenecks through that station, and enable passengers to get to their destination as quickly as possible.”

Many believe Johnson’s agenda to “level up” the North puts London infrastructure projects at risk of getting approval, with mayor of London Sadiq Khan recently calling the government “anti-London”.

The National Infrastructure Commission, the government’s infrastructure adviser, recently released a report saying Crossrail 2 should be included in this year’s spending round.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “While Crossrail 2 has the potential to address capacity issues on London’s rail and Tube networks, and improve connectivity across the South East, there has been no final government decision on the project, its route or timeline for delivery.

“We continue to consider the business case for the project, but have been clear that Government will need to see a realistic and achievable funding proposal.”