Tempting as it was I resisted writing a rolling blog today as experience has taught me HS2 site visits give me little time to write ’em as I’m too busy taking pictures and notes. Don’t worry. You’ll get a full run-down of my visit to Euston soon.
The day started in Clapham where I’d spent the night staying with an old friend. The visit didn’t start until 12:15 so I had time for a mooch around parts of the capital’s rail network first. Of course, Clapham Junction’s a very good place to start such an activity. The station’s recovered much of its old hustle and bustle even if some of the changes promised have yet to materialise. By 2019 most of the old BR built fleets operated by Southwestern Railway were meant to have been replaced. They still soldier on whilst their
Bombardier built replacements (the class 701s) have yet to turn a wheel in revenue earning service. I did see one of the new trains (well, most of it. It was missing the front end skirts again) on test and I pictured it at Waterloo. I can’t add the shot right now, but I will tomorrow. Waterloo was another station that had regained the old atmosphere as crowds scurried hither and thither, Waterloo East was somewhat quieter but my next stop (London Bridge) was just as frenetic. I hope to return next week as I have a job to do here. I still can’t get over what a transformation the station has had and seeing surplus to SWR requirement Class 707s here added to the effect. I moved on via Thameslink to St Pancras International before walking down to Euston in time for my appointment with HS2, having avoided crossing London on the tube.
The press trip around the HS2 works at Euston could best be described as intimate, which was brilliant as we had plenty of time for briefings and to ask questions. I’ll be writing about what we saw at length, but for now all you’ll get is a couple of teaser pictures.
We had over three hours to be shown round and briefed, allowing us enough time to absorb the massive scale of the work at Euston and ask pertinent questions – especially on a day when the Governments HS2 Minister, Andrew Stephenson confirmed that the new station would only have 10 (not 11) high speed platforms
Afterwards the day took a social turn as me posting pictures on social media meant some friends knew I was in town so we ended up meeting for a quick pint outside the Euston Tap before I caught the 17:40 Avanti service northwards towards home. Like so many trains I’ve been on recently, this 11 car Pendolino has been really busy – especially when you consider the fact the first stop is Crewe. Yep, this is a service that will be vastly speeded up when it transfers to HS2.