Despite continuing question marks over whether it should be built at all, preliminary works for the first phase of HS2 have now begun. In this report we will take a look at what is happening at the London end of the new line. Then in upcoming issues we will take a look at progress in the West Midlands and in the north of England.
Progress so far
After years of planning, Phase 1 of the line, running from London’s Euston Station to Birmingham, received Royal Assent in 2017 and work officially began in February 2018. Currently, it is at the London end of the line where most is happening: There are two major work sites – the existing Euston Station and Old Oak Common in northwest London.
It is worth pointing out that, just north of Euston at Mornington Street Bridge the line will run in a tunnel until the new station at Old Oak Common. After emerging here it will again run underground for eight miles to West Ruislip before heading out to the open countryside of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. So, impact on the parts of London above the tunnelled sections of the line is likely to be negligible.
Originally scheduled to open in 2026, it now seems more likely that this line will become operational in 2032 or 2033. However, the project is already having an impact insofar as HS2 Limited estimates that the project now employs around 9,000 people and work is underway at around 250 individual work sites.
Euston is already a busy, 44m passenger per year mainline station and the station itself and the surrounding area will be totally transformed by the arrival of HS2. The project has been divided into two stages: The first two involve the construction of the new HS2 station and are scheduled for completion in 2026 and 2033. The third phase involves redevelopment of the existing station. There will be a new connection to the London Underground and, potentially, any future Crossrail 2.
Mace Limited and Dragados SA have been appointed as the construction team for the new station. Work has already begun here on preparatory work, including archaeological investigations, utility diversions and demolition.