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4: HS2- Consultation on route refinements

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4: HS2- Consultation on route refinements
Leave your thoughts Laura Thornton

By Laura Thornton

This blog entry reports on the consultation launched by the Department for Transport (DfT) on proposed changes to the route for HS2 Phase 1.

DfT have now announced a formal consultation on 14 proposed changes to the project. These changes are stated to be a result of progress on the detailed design work for Phase 1 of HS2. In some cases the changes are felt to go beyond straightforward development or refinement of the project and as such merit consultation.

The consultation already contains indications of the DfT’s preferred option but makes clear that additional views are sought. As HS2 have already faced challenges in the courts on the quality of their consultation, this will be an opportunity for them to demonstrate improvements in that area.

Some of these changes have already been reported in the press with new sections of tunnelling and substantial changes to the scale of plans for the redevelopment of Euston Station receiving particular attention.

Changes at Euston

It was previously proposed that Euston Station would be comprehensively rebuilt with platforms buried underground and the concourse at ground level.  These plans have now been scaled back and DfT propose that passenger facilities will be upgraded and the existing platforms will be retained with only minor modification. Additional platforms would also be built to the west of the current station.

This is both a far cheaper and less invasive proposal. The area of land required for the work will be smaller and the lower level of disruption (and therefore a reduced need to phase works) will create a shorter term impact in the area and the work can be delivered 2 years earlier.

Further changes were also considered to create a double-decker approach to the platform layout. These options have not been taken forward to consultation as they involve increased time and cost as well as complexity.

New sections of tunnelling

Additional tunnelling is proposed in two locations:

  • a 9km stretch between Old Oak Common and Northolt in the London Borough of Ealing; and
  • beneath the M6 Bromford Viaduct.

In the case of Northolt, the changes stem from a need to reduce impacts on local transport networks of works which are more extensive than first anticipated. The new proposal leaves the existing road network intact and tunnels underneath it, adding three ventilation shafts to the works.

At Bromford the changes arise because of flood risks associated with the previous proposals which increased the land required to build the railway. This had a knock on effect on other local infrastructure. HS2 therefore propose to bury the railway at this location.

Other changes

The remaining changes (numbered in accordance with the consultation document sections) can be categorised as:

  • facilitating or improving links to HS1 or Leeds and Manchester for Phase 2 and a Heathrow link (3, 5, 14, 15);
  • changes to alignment to mitigate impacts at Colne Valley, Chelmsley Wood and Water Orton  (6, 10, 11); and
  • changes to provisions for maintenance arrangements or operational flexibility at Stoke Mandeville, Calvert, Wormleighton and Washwood Heath (7, 8, 9, 13).

Some are in fact comparatively minor and might have been included within the envelope of project development. HS2 are clearly taking a conservative approach and consulting more rather than less while the difficultly of changing the project is less substantial.

The deadline by which responses can be sent to the Department is 11 July 2013.

28 May 2013

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