Better London links are required if Midlands rail travellers are to make the most of HS2, according to a legal expert.
Alastair Frew, partner and head of the HS2 advisory group at Stratford-upon-Avon law firm Lodders, said connections with existing mainline services and also the Channel Tunnel needed to be improved.
His comments follow the Higgins Report which urged that plans to create a £50 billion high-speed rail link across England should be dramatically accelerated and increased in ambition.
Mr Frew said: “At the moment HS1 goes into St Pancras while HS2 will arrive at Euston and there is quite a walk between the two.”
He warned that a similar disconnect would exist for those bound for the Channel Tunnel and he bemoaned the abandonment of a plan to demolish and rebuild Euston, replaced with a scaled down proposal which the leader of Camden Council, Sarah Hayward, had scathingly described as “a shed being bolted on to an existing lean-to”.
Mr Frew noted: “There are hopes that this might be reversed and let’s hope it is. Indeed last month, the Chancellor hinted at a rethink when he talked of turning Euston into a major development, with a shopping centre.
“It would seem illogical for the nation to spend so much money on HS2 yet make onward journeys a challenge. There will be many people from the Midlands using HS2 who are headed for UK destinations other than London and equally many heading on to France. We need to make this easy rather than difficult.
“We need the connections to be both quick and fully integrated. This doesn’t seem much to ask in the overall context of such a massive project.”
Phase One will run from London to Birmingham and, if the Higgins Report is accepted, on to Crewe. The cost will be £21.4 billion plus £3 billion for the trains.
Phase Two sees it split in a Y-formation headed to the North West and North East. The bill for that is £21.2 billion plus £4.5 billion for the trains.
Phase One is schedule to be operational by 2026 with Phase Two following in 2032/33.