One thing absent from the Conservative party manifesto is Crossrail 2. This has led several reports to question the real long term future for HS2, because Crossrail 2 has been seen as vital for getting people away from Euston.
The Department for Transport were already supposed to have reported on TFL business case, but according to City AM they “will leave the matter for the next government to consider and then make the decision.”
This might mean that approval for Crossrail 2 is delayed until the autumn or possibly even 2018.
City AM go on to say:
If given the go-ahead, the Crossrail 2 team will prepare for a hybrid bill, with the original plan to submit that to parliament by the autumn of 2019.
The timeline plans for Royal Assent by 2021/2022 and would then start building ready to open for 2033, “just in time for HS2 Phase 2 to arrive at Euston”, according to Dix[Michelle Dix, of Crossrail 2]. She wants Crossrail 2 to tie in with HS2 so the full benefits of both can be realised.
“Without Crossrail 2 at Euston, quite a few of the benefits gained from travelling down from the North will be lost while you wait in a queue at Euston,” Dix said at a London Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) policy meeting in April.
Another question mark lies over the timetabling of the various Hybrid Bills. With two Hybrid Bills for Phase 2 of HS2, and another necessary for any ‘Crossrail of the North’, aka HS3, aka the TransPeninne rail, is there really going to be a willingness from MPs for a fourth Hybrid Bill for Crossrail 2.
City Metric have also noticed the absence of Crossrail 2 in the manifesto:
Crossrail 2 is one of the highest benefit/cost ratio (BCR) schemes going in the UK, with a BCR of 1:2.7, compared to about 1:1.8 for HS2 and about 1:2 for the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail 1) that’s currently being completed. (The Northern Powerhouse Rail scheme hasn’t even calculated one.)
It’s worth noting that over 60% of Crossrail’s funding comes London and Londoners, and its likely that much of the funding for Crossrail 2 will also be paid by London.
There’s one problem with this for Crossrail 2, though. The current plans for HS2 – which have gone through parliament and detailed design, and are almost ready to start – rely on the new commuter line. The terminus for HS2 will be at Euston, which is on the north side of central London. It’s an hour’s walk from Euston to Westminster or to London Bridge, and the three tube lines connecting Euston directly with everywhere southwards are already well over capacity….
But without Crossrail 2, everyone who arrives into Euston will then find it hard to get anywhere else. The commuters who HS2 has made room for will be using up the last vestiges of space on the Victoria Line; and the time benefits of the new line will seem irrelevant when you have to queue for just as long before you can get on the Tube.
We might not go as far as City Metric who ask whether the absence of Crossrail “Is it an excuse to cancel HS2 after the election?” Cancelling Crossrail 2 would mean there is a little bit more money for HS2, and would certainly relieve pressure on the Parliamentary timetable.
And of course, just how will the people expected to use HS2 get away from Euston without Crossrail 2?