Osborne signals support for Euston ‘super hub’

George Osborne has hinted that plans to scale back the redevelopment of Euston Station could be reversed in order to construct a new ‘super hub’ for HS2.

The Chancellor said the UK should go “really big” with the Euston redevelopment in an interview with the London Evening Standard during a visit to the new West Kowloon high-speed rail terminal in Hong Kong.

Euston was due to be knocked down and redesigned for the arrival HS2 in original blueprints for the £42 billion railway, but in April 2013, the government published an alternative plans to renovate the existing 60s rail terminal. The proposals included modifying platforms 1-15 at their current level and building 11 new platforms for high-speed services.

MTR chief executive Jay Walder (centre) with George Osbourne (right). Photo: MTR.

MTR chief executive Jay Walder (centre) with George Osborne (right). Photo: MTR.

Osborne’s comments, which came off the back of a tour of Hong Kong’s four-floor, 11-hectare underground station in West Kowloon, seem to support a rethink to last year’s U-turn.

Rail campaign group Railfuture has come out in support of Osborne’s views, believing that the best option would be to put the HS2 platforms underground and connect Euston with HS1 at King’s Cross.

Bruce Williamson from Railfuture said: “The incorporation of the sub-surface Euston Cross means that the surface redevelopment of Euston would need almost no additional land-take and also means that more space is available for commercial and residential development thus increasing the value of the scheme”.

“Crucially, the Euston Cross proposal means that we won’t have to demolish half of Camden, because some of the high-speed trains will be approaching in tunnel from Old Oak Common, as well as giving us the ability to project through trains to the southeast. With the addition of  subterranean pedestrian connections, we can create a fully integrated Euston-St Pancras-King’s Cross International super hub.”

Williamson added: “Basically, we need to think big, think out of the box and think ahead, just like the Victorians did. We’ve lost our way in terms of entrepreneurial endeavour in the last 100 years, but here we have the opportunity for a win-win-win.”

West Kowloon, which is due to open next year, will become the Hong Kong terminus of a new HKD $62.4 billion (US $8.05 billion) high-speed line to Guangzhou and Shenzhen.