It emerged today that the cost of a new tube line and so on to cope with passenger dispersal from Euston once HS2 is running north of Birmingham would be £6-9bn. That is not included in the business plan or the cost benefit analysis.

I’m glad I asked the question.

As was pointed out today, there is much at stake for the generations which follow us. Amid the casual flinging around, or indeed omission of, so much money taken from the taxpayer, amid talk of 30-year plans and careful regional integration, it would be helpful if we decided whether the decline of the North is attributable to the lack of rail capacity and speed or something else.

My view is that high taxes and inflation to monetise deficit state spending have much more to do with the lack of prosperity and prospects in the north than transport links to, and therefore extra dependency on,  London.

The inquiry continues.


  1. Andrew Bodman

    I raised a similar question in my written submission to the Transport Select Committee: “It is also questionable whether the underground rail services at Euston will be able to cope with an additional 10,000 passengers per hour at peak times, which is more than double the existing volumes. (Source: possible passenger volume from HS2 Ltd Route Engineering Report)”.
    The answer was very illuminating.

  2. Good insight. My concern is that the HS2 line, if it goes ahead, will be used as justification for the massive Arup Heathrow Hub on green belt to the east of Iver.

    The consequences for extra traffic on rural lanes don’t bear thinking about.

    The business case is fallacious – the idea that people need to travel to do business is outmoded in today’s world of videoconferencing, Skype, etc.

    A fraction of the HS2 investment allocated to super fast broadband would do far more for the economy. However, as this would harm the traditional media, the issue is never raised.

  3. William Barter

    You should really should report everything that followed this little bombshell! Turned out he was not talking about a new tube line because of HS2, just taking the one he wants anyway, has planned already, and thinks is justified in its own right and diverting it via Euston. Sounds very sensible, and extra costs attributable to HS2 probably nil.

    Think for a moment. The capacity of an HS2 train and a tube train are about the same. He accepts that for Phase 1 of HS2 existing distribution will cope (given interchange with Crossrail at Old Oak). So the 2 or 3 extra trains to Euston will add the equivalent of 2 or 3 extra tube trains, even if no-one changes at Old Oak or leaves Euston by anything other than tube. You’re not goping to build a new line to carry 2 or 3 trains per hour, are you? So at worst it can only mean a bit of extra traffic for a line that is 95% justified by other causes.

    • Councillor Moylan carefully clarified his remarks after the kerfuffle which ensued at the time. No doubt this new information will be contested, as so much is.

      When the transcript appears, people will be able to make up their own minds. The Inquiry’s home page is here:

    • Andrew Bodman

      William, I think you are being a little misleading. According to the plans put forward by HS2 Ltd, when the HS2 lines to Leeds and Manchester are opened there will be 4 trains per hour arriving from Leeds and South Yorkshire (1100 seat capacity each). There will be two per hour from Newcastle, Darlington and York (550 seat capacity each). At peak hours there will be four from Manchester; here the capacity will be doubled from what it was in phase 1, so the extra capacity is 4 x 550 seats. That amounts at full capacity to an extra 7700 passengers per hour as the difference between phase one and phase two capacities for HS2.

      Bearing in mind the Northern line is already the busiest Underground line and Victoria is the fourth busiest, and you need to allow for natural demand growth over the next twenty years as well as the additional passengers provided by the HS2 service from Birmingham, and it is a lot less easy to brush aside Daniel Moylan’s comments. Please try rereading what I wrote earlier.

  4. William Barter

    First, the pattern of services for Phase 2 is currently the subject of a study, not fixed. Then, I think that some of the trains you mention will head for Heathrow not Euston, or to HS1.

    And of course not all passengers arriving at Euston will use the Underground anyway, especially as the bulk of those who might will have changed at Old Oak.

    Taking your calculation at face value, that’s still only 7 tube trains extra, about a quarter of what a new line should shift; adding in the other likelihoods and we are back to my suggestion of 2 or 3. Point is, on either basis it seems wrong to try and attribute the whole cost of Chelsea – Hackney to HS2, especially when you are quite right about current and future demands on the Underground regardless of HS2. And what would you say about so-called alternatives to HS2 such as RP2 – this has no equivalent to the Old Oak Interchange so all extra passengers would be heading for Euston. One way or the other, most of this extra traffic is coming anyway.

    I’m not trying to say that there is no issue – how can there not be? One might argue that HS2 brings the need for Chelsea – Hackney forward or strengthens the case, but seizing on this to support a preconceived view on HS2 as Steve Baker is doing is irresponsible.

  5. Gary - Manchester

    Steve – I watched the TSC video on Tuesday night. As far as I m concerned , the new tube line ( Crossrail 2 ) has its own business case, and this was clearly stated to the committee. This has been around as a proposal for a long time.

    No one actually mentioned dispersal at the other destinations… might want to take some time out and come up to Manchester and see whats happening with our own Metrolink Tram system. This is expanding dramatically right now on the back of years of success.

    By the way , some good questions asked at the TSC, its been very informative.