Tunnelled option could ‘support a mix of international and cross-London demand’
The high-speed rail research group Greengauge 21 has published a new report examining how a tunnelled connection across the London Borough of Camden might be combined with an under-used surface railway westwards from Old Oak Common to provide an HS1 – HS2 connection.
Director of Greengauge 21, Jim Steer said: ‘A new solution to the HS1- HS2 link needs to consider all traffic that could use a re-specified link. In addition to international travel there is substantial demand for cross-London travel. An extension of the Southeastern ‘Javelin’ and HS1 international services to Old Oak Common and Heathrow would provide for cross-London markets, and the Javelin services could be readily extended over the Chiltern line to serve places such as High Wycombe, Aylesbury and Oxford.
‘New international services could provide opportunities for same station interchange between HS1 and HS2 at Heathrow and Old Oak Common. This would bring substantial benefits. It would improve the business case and value of HS2, as well as allow HS1 to operate to its full potential.’
The report, published on 1 April, suggests that adverse impacts on London Overground – one of the problems with the proposal now dropped – can be avoided. Preliminary work by Transport for London has identified a tunnelled option that can support a mix of international and cross-London demand, says Greengauge 21. West of Old Oak Common, accessing Heathrow can be achieved by using an existing rail corridor towards Ruislip – used by only one train per day – and the link already planned for HS2 to reach Heathrow.
Jim Steer said: ‘There is a long list of benefits that a re-designed HS1 – HS2 link should exploit:
- It protects the possibility of direct services from the North to continental Europe without constraining the best use of available HS2 capacity,
- The full value of the line capacity provided by HS1 depends on extra terminus capacity, and Heathrow is a good choice for a second southern international destination given its new rail links direct to the west,
- Extending HS1 in this way maximises HS2 investment by enabling same-station interchange between HS1 and HS2. Travellers from Scotland, the North and the Midlands would be able to use HS2 and interchange directly to continental European services using HS1,
- Heathrow – Paris high speed rail services will reduce the number of short haul air services,
- The international platforms at Stratford will be brought into use,
- By making longer distance cross-London journeys possible by rail that just are not easily possible today, pressure will be taken off the M25,
- Javelin services from Kent would be extended to Old Oak Common, Heathrow, Oxford and Aylesbury, providing the Chilterns with a cross-London Javelin service, and direct access to international high speed rail services and to Crossrail.