Euston’s problems would not be solved by HS2

This weekend there was massive disruption to passengers to and from Euston, following damage to wires in the Wembley area on Friday afternoon.

Not only were trains along the West Coast Main Line (including many local and regional services) massively disrupted on Friday, the chaos continued onto Sunday, with Network Rail warning there would be no trains in or out of the station from Sunday morning, and disruption continuing into the evening.

The thing is, even if HS2 was built, it would have done little to help many of the affected passengers. Even if normal tickets had been allowed on the HS2 trains, any alternative journey would have involved going from London to Birmingham, as there are no intermediate stations.

When first planning HS2, a route via Milton Keynes with a station there was rejected because too many people would want to use it. Similarly a station near Bicester – which could have joined with the East-West rail route between Oxford and Milton Keynes currently under construction – was rejected, without even giving a thought to the possibility of connecting the two lines.

So the only way passengers could have used HS2 as an alternative would be to travel all the way between London and Birmingham – no help for people who wanted to get on or off at Milton Keynes, Coventry, Watford or any of the intermediate stations.

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