It’s nearly two years since Lord Adonis made the original public announcement about HS2. It was spotted immediately that HS2 did not connect to HS1: HS2 Ltd said the link would be “uneconomic”.
This is just the kind of thing that Victorian railway companies did: build two stations, on different lines, near each other, but with no interchange. Examples of these towns include Bicester, Dorking and St Albans. As HS1 and HS2 are the only two planned UK railways which would have a commercial service of taking trains with a continental gauge this oversight seems even more daft.
Since then, HS2 Ltd have realised there might be a flaw in this decision and have been casting around, trying to find a solution. Their current plan is to use the existing North London Line.
Not surprisingly this is causing concern with Transport for London and rail users.
For instance Navin Shah London Assembly member for Brent and Harrow, asked the London Mayor about it:
Mayor answers to London – HS1 / HS2 Link
Question number – 0660/2012
Meeting date – 22/02/2012
Question by Navin Shah
What action are you taking to ensure that London Overground services on the increasingly well used North Line will not be affected by the proposed junction in the Camden Town area?
Answer by Boris Johnson
The proposed connection between HS2 and HS1 is unacceptable and alternative options must be identified that do not adversely impact on London’s rail services. The proposed link as planned would largely use existing tracks and, as proposed, would adversely impact on London Overground capacity and performance. I have asked the Secretary of State to consider alternative options which include more dedicated infrastructure for HS2 services. I am pleased that the Secretary of State has acknowledged this issue and TfL will work closely with HS2 Ltd to examine all options.
Or as Frank Dobson pointed out in Parliament last March
“When HS1 was being built, I recall that the people from Bechtel looked at the possibility of using the North London line as the route into St Pancras. They decided that the cuttings, embankments and bridges along that line were so lousy that it would be cheaper to bore through to St Pancras, which was a considerable distance. When I pointed that out to someone from HS2, they were unaware of that small and apparently irrelevant fact.”