London

Rail expert says Stratford should be HS2 terminus

Graphic of Stratford Station
Image caption Stratford was the Olympic Games gateway station

A rail expert has challenged the government's decision to route its planned high-speed rail link between London and Birmingham from Euston.

Dick Keegan, former director of projects at British Rail, believes Stratford station would provide better links for London airports and Europe.

It would also avoid the demolition of over 200 homes around Euston.

The Department for Transport said Euston was selected after a careful review including development prospects.

'Unused platforms'

Phase one of HS2, between London and Birmingham, should be running by 2026, with the rail link later extending to northern England.

The government says the rail network will provide direct high-capacity, high-speed links between London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.

Stratford in east London is served by two underground lines, overground rail services and the Docklands Light Railway.

It was upgraded ahead of the Olympics, with new lifts and station entrances.

Image caption Dick Keegan said Euston station was extremely congested

Mr Keegan, who has worked in the railway industry since 1959, said: "The route proposed does not serve Heathrow directly and there is no direct link to Europe.

"Stratford already serves Stansted airport, City airport and Southend, and when Crossrail is completed it will be possible to transfer there to travel to Heathrow. Stratford has two international platforms that are unused."

Euston, in the borough of Camden, will need to be expanded to become the HS2 terminus - which the government says is an opportunity to regenerate the area.

It will mean the demolition of about 216 homes, the loss of some businesses and the relocation of a secondary school. Camden Council has said that insufficient justification was given for why alternative stations were discounted.

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: "HS2 carefully reviewed all the possible station options, and a report on this was part of a major public consultation in 2011."

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