Original design had proposals for 11 platforms in order to cope with capacity for now abandoned route to Manchester

HS2’s terminus at Euston will be built with just six platforms, almost half of its original scope. 

Rishi Sunak yesterday confirmed that the job – mothballed since earlier this year – would be completed, albeit under new management and with fewer platforms. 

HS2 Euston exterior CGI

Source: Grimshaw \ HS2 Ltd

A CGI of the exterior of Grimshaw’s design for the HS2 Euston Station, described by the government as “gold-plated and over-specified”

Documents published by the government later confirmed that it would be a six platform station and suggested the saved space could be used to claw back money through commercial development. 

The HS2 station has undergone successive redesigns over the years, which saw it downsized from 11 to 10 platforms. 

But these cuts to scope failed to reign in costs on the job, which was paused earlier this year after its estimated price tag rose to £4.6bn, from an initial £2.6bn budget. 

The prime minister’s speech to the Conservative Party conference yesterday put an end to rumours that Euston would be axed, with the line ending instead at Old Oak Common.

But the West Midlands to Manchester link was scrapped with Sunak saying the £36bn cost would be spent on hundreds of local projects instead. 

Government documents published yesterday both London station designs as “gold-plated and over-specified” and promised to “strip back” the project so it can be opened as soon as possible. 

Sunak scraps HS2 Birmingham to Manchester leg

“We will not provide a tunnel between Euston and Euston Square underground station or design features we do not need,” the documents said. 

“Instead we will deliver a 6-platform station which can accommodate the trains we will run to Birmingham and onwards and which best supports regeneration of the local area.” 

They added that its plan would “properly unlock the opportunities the new [Euston] station offers” adding that it hopes to hand over the regained space for commercial development. 

One source said: “It’s very disingenuous as it doesn’t mention the team was designing to DfT requirements. Six platforms doesn’t realise the full potential that he [Sunak] talks about either.” 

Alasdair Reisner, chief executive of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association said: “On a day of poor decisions, the choice to apparently permanently hobble Euston station, blocking any future growth seems barely believable.

”The Prime Minister has today not only signed up to worsen capacity on the existing North-West route by pushing HS2 trains onto already packed infrastructure north of Birmingham, but has put to the sword any option for a future Government to come in and resolve this issue, permanently preventing HS2 expansion at Euston.

“This truly beggars belief, and suggests that decisions are being made for political reasons with no understanding of the stark long-term consequences.”

HS2 Ltd will no longer be responsible for the Euston job, with Sunak saying in his speech that “there must be some accountability for the mistakes made, for the mismanagement of this project”. 

sunak 5

Source: Conservative Party

Rishi Sunak announcing the decision yesterday to jettison the leg of HS2 between the West Midlands and Manchester

A new development company will be charged with delivering the Euston stretch of the railway and a transformed ‘Euston Quarter’ around the new station, featuring up to 10,000 homes. 

It said this company would “take on the lessons” of projects such as Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms, which “secured £9bn of private sector investment and thousands of homes”. 

The government believes this reduction in scope and leveraging of private sector investment will release £6.5bn worth of planned expenditure, which it said would be reinvested in transport infrastructure across the country. 

Meanwhile, National Infrastructure Commission chairman Sir John Armitt said it was “disappointing” the Manchester leg had been scrapped. And he added: “While it is welcome that the money will be redirected into rail and other transport projects for the North and Midlands, it’s not yet clear how the collection of schemes announced today will address the gap left behind by HS2.

“It will be for government to show it can turn the schemes into a coherent, long-term rail strategy and deliver it in a cost effective manner, in partnership with local leaders.”