HS2 has appointed Arup to design and develop plans for the re-development of London’s Euston Station for the anticipated 2026 opening of the HS2 network. The final HS2 project will realise considerable increase in capacity at the station.
Thanks to the declining levels of quality in rail service provision, coupled with the stagnating rates of progress across the privatised system, British rail services have become a major point of contention in the UK. In response to the continued controversy of the state of nation’s rail services, which this year underwent another heavily criticised price hike, Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party maintained a commitment to inject £40 billion into public transport, in their 2017 election manifesto. This included plans for HS2, a new high speed railway linking several major cities.
The HS2 aims to significantly reduce the travel time between far flung areas in England through a high-speed rail connection. The initial phase of the project will connect London with Birmingham, with two second phase extensions planned to connect the network to Manchester, extending to Crew, and Leeds, through Sheffield, following the completion of the first segment. The completed project could see travel times between London and Leeds by up to an hour.
One area through which the network is set to run is Euston. The completion of the mega-project could, according to one projection, see the number of passengers per hour arriving / leaving the station increase from around 11,000 today to almost 40,000 each way by 2033. The significant increase in traffic, calls for a redesign of the station at Euston.
Arup recently announced that the firm and partner Grimshaw Architects have won the contract to “develop and refine the detailed plans for the transformation of London Euston”. In addition, with partners Arup Associates and Wilkinson Eyre Architects, the firm has also won a contract to take part in the design and development of the interchange near Birmingham, where passengers connect on the Y shape between Manchester and Leeds. The projects will need to be delivered by the planned opening of the first phase in 2026.
For the projects the firm will draw on input from stakeholders, such as the local community, international best practice as well as independent panel endorsed guidelines and specifications. The firm will work with HS2 Ltd on the development of the new design, focused on people-centred design; one that is ‘timeless’, allowing for easy upgrading and future developments; and respecting and contributing to the physical and cultural legacy of the location.
Commenting on the new contract, Mark Thurston HS2 Chief Executive, said, “Our new stations in London and Birmingham will be at the heart of the first phase of the project, increasing capacity, improving journeys and helping to unlock opportunities for tens of thousands of new jobs and homes around what will be four new landmark buildings. That’s why I’m delighted to welcome these talented designers to the team, and we look forward to working with them to create station designs which showcase world-class architecture, ease of use and value for money that our passengers and communities expect and deserve.”
Stefan Sanders, UKMEA Rail Leader at Arup, added, "These stations are going to provide the key link between HS2, local and other inter-city services and will also be destinations in their own right. We are proud to be playing a leading role in their design and development, alongside our architect partners.”
Elsewhere, the HS2 project has not been without controversy, from concerns around social and environmental impacts as well as cost overrun concerns, the project in total is slated to cost £55.7 billion, although there is contention about this figure, and be completed in 2033. The project was also staggered by the collapse of outsourcer Carillion, a firm which was handed a contract to assist with construction, despite having issued a series of profit warnings in 2017.