Euston HS2 #7

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Being the one about Euston’s new tube entrance and its a special two-part article. The entrance has been open nearly two months and a look is taken at how construction of the new entrance came about. A large part of it is actually work for HS2 thus any ‘improvements’ is essentially a misnomer. The old entrance made closing the station quite impossible on Fridays and Saturdays due to the night tube. With the new entrance the station area is separated and this saves Network Rail some resources in not having to keep their bit open throughout the weekends.

Some sources such as Ian Visits were making announcements about the new tube entrance (eg early April 2019) however it was nothing new. The plans have been afoot since as early as 2015 although with time they because more clearer and more progressive. The advent of the Night Overground necessitated some acceleration of the idea and this new entrance is therefore temporary and will be relocated in due course. In fact the new tube entrance been implemented in various stages as part of the ongoing HS2 works. One of the main stages in this was the closure of the station car park on 14th October 2018, followed by the old taxi rank on 6th January 2019. These closures enabled construction of the new tube entrance to speed ahead.

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Picture showing the quite temporary nature of the new look Euston tube entrances. Source: Twitter

Its very hard to find out what is happening exactly in terms of the tube at Euston station with regards to the plans for HS2. One thing is certain – the new entrance is temporary and will disappear in a few years time. The plans on HS2 are numerous and take hours to go through. You try reading these! Its a huge morass of information and detail just as there is with Crossrail!

Judging from some of the plans, the main entrance to the tube station will be more to the west in the future although there are no definitive plans at the stage. See for example drawings A22 DDD3 HS + LUL Interchange Concourse Plans (2015.) The LUL ticket hall itself will eventually be relocated temporarily, before being demolished (eg A26 DDD3 Construction Phase A2: Lower Level) and a new main ticket hall/entrance area provided. These plans can be found here.

The Euston HS2 Masterplan 1 and Masterplan 2 – despite the huge amount of redactions, do give a little more detail in terms of the tube facilities under HS2. There will be a sky bridge (with shops etc) looking down into the atrium (more shops, cafes etc) where the new tube station entrances will be. At interchange level there is to be a whole new low level inter-connecting concourse linking up the various new tube entrances and the existing escalators – as well as adding new escalators – and hopefully lifts too although these are not so far indicated. It is early days so fingers crossed they do remember to design these lifts into the plans!

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HS2/LUL interchanges. Source: Masterplan 2

The main entrance will be somewhere to the south of the main station buildings and known as the southern ticket hall probably underneath part of the present concourse and piazza but also certainly within the space left vacant by the former taxi rank and car parks. There will be another ticket hall/entry area below the HS2 platforms and this will involve a low level concourse running the length of the platforms to meet the southern ticket hall. The present ticket hall will go. This means there wont be access at that point from ground level anymore but from the new inter-connecting concourse on the west side. The present escalator banks will simply form part of the new system the new larger tube station which will be on a north/south axis rather than the present east/west axis.

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Provisional new HS2/LUL interchange and demolition of present ticket hall. Source: Masterplan 2

Its actually difficult to pin-point exactly what is happening because let’s face it, there are no comprehensive plans yet. Overall plans, overall dates, overall phases, yes but no plans yet showing how the new tube station and entrances will look or where exactly they will be. With the constantly changing nature of this project no doubt those initial plans will change again and again until it is time to decide exactly what is going to be where and definitive plans drawn up. There is one certainty it seems, and that is the existing ticket hall is surplus to requirements. Its space will no doubt become part of the new intermediate concourse that gives level access to all parts of the main line station as well as a direct link to Euston Square.

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Merged image from Masterplan 2 to show the present ticket hall and the indication it will be ‘demolished after Stage B2 complete.’

Aside from incorporation in to the eventual HS2 construction, the actual work for the new entrance itself was quite light, there’s been almost no major structural alterations of any sort in order to build a new entrance. It simply involved a new partition to demarcate the areas between the newly designated tube entrance/escalators and the main line station concourse.

The biggest structural alterations was of course the need to install a new floor section in order to expand the new look station concourse, including the new seating area, and a small part of this new floor is incorporated into the new tube entrance.

One ‘downside’ of the ‘new’ entrance is it will make it easier for the proposed HS2 works to go ahead because the tube can be more easily grade separated from those works. Not only that, as we saw earlier HS2 requires completely new entrances to the tube station – which means the current ‘new’ entrance and any other existing are temporary.

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Network Rail illustration of the new look west side concourse with large windows looking down onto the escalators to the tube – rather like those entrances at King’s Cross. This work is yet to be completed though at the time of writing it seems extra efforts are being made to fulfil this stage of the works and this includes modification to the headwall at the top of the escalator bank. Source: Twitter

The programme for these works began in September 2018 when the first units on the piazza were closed, and will continue in and around the tube station itself almost without a break until the early summer of 2031, when the new tube entrances and concourses are completed – although as usual it seems there has been some slippage in the time scales.

There is one advantage of this temporary new entrance that many may have not realised. When the time comes to demolish the two Euston towers on the west side of the station site, access to the tube station (as well as the main line station) will be maintained by way of these being on the east side of the station where no construction work is taking place. It means when the pedestrian access is closed temporarily on the west side people can still access the tube via the new entrance on east side.

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Now you see it.. now you don’t! The lifts to the tube with their taxi rank signage on 4th January 2019

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The same location on 7th January 2019. All references to the old taxi rank have been covered up!

At this point I do not know how long the other arrangement – being the lifts and stairs from the west side, will be in use. These were originally part of the access to the old taxi rank but also gave access to the tube station. In perhaps a year or two’s time, these lifts and stairs will be closed because that part is within the footprint of the new HS2 station and the lifts themselves are simply in the way of the new north-south low level concourse for HS2.

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Euston station in September 2018 with Accessorize visible through the glass doors on the right. In a few days time it would be closed and the first of the works for the new look tube entrance begun.

Currently Euston tube station doesn’t have disability access thus the lifts’ closure will not be a major hardship despite the inconvenience it will cause in terms of people wanting to reach the ticket hall. The new tube station areas for HS2 will of course have full disability access and lifts to the tube platforms. Thus the existing escalators will simply become an additional route to the tube and not form the main access routes for disabled people

By ensuring the entrance to the tube is only possible from the piazza area, contractors will have the opportunity to undertake the works needed to modify the present tube station ticket hall for its new role under HS2 including a new connecting link between here and the HS2 concourse. This will lead off from the west side of the ticket hall near the top of the escalators. There wont be a ticket hall in the old location anymore. Another is planned approximately where the upper level of the now closed taxi rank is and this will serve the new HS2 terminal directly – though with the advent of contactless etc there may not even be a need for any ticket halls by the time HS2 is opened!

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Taxi rank closed and moved outside as part of the new tube entrance enabling works. Source: Twitter

Another aspect to this long term work will be that the link to Euston Square will be constructed as well as other routes from the main HS2 platforms. To enable this new link part of the old tunnels in the Euston subterranean station taxi rank will be re-utilised.

The HS2 redevelopment no longer requires demolishing the station itself although the west side platforms will be demolished. The HS2 terminal has been reduced in size somewhat although there will still be work needed in other parts of the station to complement the new terminal.

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Final day at the old subterranean taxi rank. 5th January 2019

At this stage it cannot be said how the new arrangement will finally look besides plans and initial artists impressions. There are no final designs yet for how the station will look in say fifteen years time. Its still all up in the air and the designers for the Euston HS2 station have only just been appointed! These (Mace and Dragados) will no doubt spend the next few years designing the actual plans and construction phases.

Judging from the initial HS2 designs it seems the idea is to provide a glass front all the way along the old station frontage – in fact sort of restoring it how it once was but with a larger glass screen. There will be no shops of any sort along this section as there are now – these will have all been relocated to the new HS2 concourse or elsewhere and of course the tube station entrances will be elsewhere too.

As has already been said, work began ages ago, and this included the closure of the old taxi rank.

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Officially the last taxi to use the old sub-surface rank! Source: Twitter

Even though the old taxi rank’s closure enabled the new tube entrance to forge ahead it was really a major step in terms of HS2. The old taxi rank area will as we have seen in fact become parts of the new HS2 station including the new tube station concourses. The current taxi rank is now outside the station in Euston Square Gardens but even that too is temporary and will move two more times before being given a permanent home.

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The new taxi rank just after it had opened on 6th January 2019.

A lot of work was done in preparedness for the new entrance besides the taxi rank this also involved the closure of several of the shop units in the locality, both on the piazza and inside the concourse itself. This meant the work began in the summer of 2018 with hoardings and on site preparations. The hoardings have been about the area for a good amount of time and these clearly indicated the ongoing works for the tube entrance. The biggest causalities was the TfL Tourist Information Centre, the new bank/tourist exchange bureau established just a few years ago and three retail units facing onto the Euston station piazza.

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The official opening plaque unveiled by Queen Elizabeth 14th October 1968 & formerly sited about where the emergency doors are in the new tube lobby.

One other substantial causality of the new arrangement was the huge stone slab that commemorated the Royal opening of the station in 1968. This is important in terms of the station’s history. Photographs I took of the progress show this was still in place as they began the infilling of the stairwell to the taxi rank. What they did was they encased the stone tablet in a wooden cradle and supported it, then slowly removed its base (built of bricks) and then took the tablet away. I do not know what has happened to it but assume its been put aside for safekeeping somewhere down in the old taxi rank space (which is what they are doing with other stuff that needs storing.)

One of the strangest assertions from Network Rail has been that they were ‘removing retail units to open up the concourse.’ Its actually become more compressed and has far less space than before… and what they are having to do is close down units to create additional space (such as Boots which closed May 12th.) This is of course temporary additional space because in time it too become part of the new HS2 station. Per se these are not actually ‘improvements’ or ‘upgrades’ but preliminaries to enable the HS2 works to take place.

What follows is a picture gallery showing before/after and this will continue in the second part of this series.

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The former access to the taxi rank. On the right hand side is the rear of the plaque unveiled by the Queen. Note the letter box.

In the above picture one can see the bureau de change and the rear of the units facing on to the Euston station piazza. These were soon closed and hoardings erected along that side to enable the frontage onto the piazza to be altered for the new tube entrance. The following picture is from 5th February 2019 and shows the piazza units now closed and works underway to open up that section of the station frontage for the new tube entrance. At this time the TfL visitor centre remained open.

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The station piazza side of the works in early February 2019. This would be the actual new tube entrance once works had been completed.

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The corridor to the taxi rank where it runs under the Euston station concourse. 4th January 2019. The stairs are those seen in the previous picture. These will soon be filled in in order to enable the new tube entrance.

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The taxi rank stairs now hidden by hoardings. The plaque is now behind the hoardings. The letter box was eventually removed.

The TfL tourist Information unit remained open on the east side of these works until 9th February 2019 when this too was closed. Although works were underway within the former taxi rank stairwell, a substantial amount of the other work necessary for the new tube entrance could not begin until the TfL information centre had closed. By that time the other units (such as the bank/exchange bureau at the top of the tube escalators had been closed) and hoardings were being put up around the rear of the TfL information centre to allow preliminary works to continue.

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The TfL information centre is closed 9th February 2019

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Notice says it all about the TfL visitor centre!

Next is a before/after. The stairs on their last day of use and a few weeks later with works underway to fill them in. This was done by way of the construction of a raft across the entrance with supports below. I expect the former corridor beneath the concourse will be come a storage area.

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The stairs 5th January 2019.

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The stairs exactly two months later – 5th March 2019 with works to fill them in.

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The new, temporary corridor, to the tube station between the former piazza units and the TfL visitor centre/taxi rank stairwell area.

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25th March 2019 – the stairs have now been replaced by a brand new floor. There’s just a small gap through which the taxi rank access corridor can still be seen. Once that bit is filled, the floor is tiled, the hoardings removed and the area temporarily available until the next step of the works can be undertaken.

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The newly installed floor with tidying up, removal of the hoardings and floor polishing to do! The structure on the right is in fact the stairs leading to the upper mall. Source: Twitter

By this time its now the very end of February/beginning of April 2019. At this point the hoardings on the outside began to receive pictures and information about the new tube station entrance. The news media and social media would soon be egging onto the fact there was officially going to be a new tube entrance at Euston! Anyway once the new floor had been finished it would be onward with the next major phase of the works for the new tube entrance – and this is covered in the second part to follow.

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4 Responses to “Euston HS2 #7

  • The “DDD3” (Double Deck Down) plans are nothing to do with HS2.
    DDD (in it’s various incarnations) was/is an alternate proposed by a gentleman petitioning against HS2 and seeking for HS2 to not demolish anything (including his business) west of (current) Euston. DDD should not be regarded as canon and was rejected by Parliament.
    I suggest he best evidence so far s to what is proposed for Euston comes from HS2’s chief engineer (Professor McNaughton) such as this… https://www.parliament.uk/documents/lords-committees/High-Speed-Rail/HOL-10018-Euston-Overview.pdf
    This shows (amongst others) underground passages from Euston Square (tube) platforms and a new entrance on Gordon Street as well as entrances in the main station concourse. Of course, as you rightly say, this is all “high level” design at present as the detailed plans are not yet available.

    • alondonblogger
      3 months ago

      The DDD3 plans are presented by Professor McNaughton so they seem acceptably canon. But I get your gist. Thanks.

      • Hiya – DDD3’s plans were critiqued by Professor McNaughton as part of the process of rebutting them in the Parliamentary process. DDD3 has always been the effort of a third party (arguing against HS2) called Jeff Travers and this gentleman has no relationship with HS2.
        The slide deck you linked contains other slides from the same parliamentary evidence session from Coiin Elliff of HSUK (currently “doing the rounds again” at time of posting) and scheme calles Euston Express as well as some slides from HS2 themselves. It’s a consolidated set of slides from various parties, that formed part of an evidence session in from of an HS2 Bill Select Committee with multiple witnesses that, one suspect. the House Secretariat has clipped together in a single document. It’s not an HS2 presentation.
        Kind regards

        • alondonblogger
          3 months ago

          I think we have already established its not an HS2 canon but it has been a help to me. Instead of this impartial HS2 reporting I am doing perhaps I should go to the other side and report on the stuff against HS2 because in my own personal opinion HS2 is not something that’s needed. I am only reporting it out of interest and on a impartial basis – and I simply haven’t got the capacity to deal with the complexity of the whole project.

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