Planned HS2 link to Eurostar scrapped, MPs told

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Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has confirmed the government is to scrap proposals to link the High Speed Two rail route with the HS1 Channel Tunnel train line at St Pancras.

Mr McLoughlin told MPs in a statement on 24 March 2014 that the link "requires too many compromises" and said it would be removed from the HS2 legislation.

It came after HS2 chair Sir David Higgins questioned the viability of the route from Euston to St Pancras, in his report for the government.

The move, welcomed by Labour, means there will not be through-trains from the north of England to the continent, but Mr McLoughlin said he would commission a study into ways to improve connections.

Sir David Higgins also called for building work on the northern section of the £50bn high-speed HS2 rail project, from Birmingham to Crewe, to be accelerated. Mr McLoughlin told MPs he had asked HS2 to look at how this could be achieved.

The transport secretary also announced plans for a "fundamental redevelopment" of Euston station, in his statement.

Labour Holborn and St Pancras MP Frank Dobson welcomed the scrapping of the HS2-HS1 link, but said of a Euston upgrade: "[It] will still mean that the homes of more than 500 people will be destroyed and that the lives of about 5,000 people will for a decade be subjected to the noise, filth and destruction of the biggest engineering project in Europe."

Conservative Cheryl Gillan, a staunch opponent of HS2, said it was "about time" the government set out what compensation will be paid to people whose homes will be affected by the new rail link. Mr McLoughlin said he would me able to make an announcement "soon".

HS2 Action Alliance, which represents a coalition of groups opposed to the new rail link, says the project will be a "huge waste of money" and claims it will cause severe environmental damage.

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