Featured in the Future Transport London Newsletter May 2023
Escalating costs have forced a delay in the opening of HS2. The latest plan envisages Old Oak Common to Birmingham services starting with just three trains an hour in June 2030. The Elizabeth Line trains which currently terminate at Paddington will be extended to Old Oak Common at the latest by that date and up to 1100 passengers will descend onto the Elizabeth Line. An Elizabeth Line train can carry up to 1500 passengers which might be enough to accommodate them all, but Sadiq Khan is asking the government for funds for additional trains. With trains full of travellers from Heathrow as well as from HS2 there might be a problem for those who want to board at Paddington.
But Old Oak Common is not only the site for the HS2 station but is also a major development area with a target for 24,000 new homes and tens of thousands of jobs. These developments will also require an enhanced service on the Elizabeth Line and TfL are asking the government for funds to pay for additional trains to satisfy all these demands.
The huge work at Euston is running way behind schedule. A Christmas blockade was scheduled to close Euston in 2028 to complete the station. There would then be an 18-month testing period hopefully allowing services of 10 trains an hour to start in December 2034. However work at Euston has now been paused following the government’s announcement of a two year delay to construction and estimates suggest it will be 2041 before trains reach Euston.
There is increasing anger at the disruption caused to residents affected by the extensive work around Euston. Camden Council leader Georgia Gould has now called for the 60 acres site to be opened up for community-uses during the delay.