A few souls have asked me to expand on my letter in the Camden New Journal over the seasonal break, particularly when l say ” if its good enough for Grand Central in NYC, why not Euston in London?”
Firstly l had been been introduced to Double Deck Down (DDD) at Grand Central rail station at an early age by an uncle who used to work for Amtrak on trips to New York City where my aunt lived just outside NYC proper in Long Island. I have to confuse l didn’t show the slightess bit of interest in how the station operated when he told us, as l just wanted to get on the trains and go off to where ever l was been sent! It was only recently when campaigners came to visit me at City Hall for DDD option at Euston for the HS2 to limit its environmental impact in Camden and l immediately realised l actually knew one example very well, Grand Central in New York City.
At Grand Central, NYC it was decided to create a new double level terminal for electric trains back in 1902 and took 10 years of construction while rail services continued uninterrupted. It opened just over a 100 years ago in 1913 with two levels both below ground with overall 44 platforms with 41 tracks on the upper level and 26 on the lower one. Clearly the technology will have been developed given its over a century old anyway, so why not in London with the HS2 concerns in Euston, l ask myself?
From the answers l got on the night of the last community consultation in Euston, it was clear HS2 had not really looked into the matter at all and came over very defensive about the matter when it was brought up by members of the local community, dismissing it on a confidential cost-basis. Yet it could offer the best solution to mitigate many of the adverse impacts of HS2 in Euston like the loss of a public park in St James Gardens; the local businesses in Drummond Street; and the many homes on the Regents Park Estate. I suggested that surely cost-benefit analysis could have been undertaken without breaching the release of any of the actual build costings. At least Camden Council had done a cost-benefit analysis of HS2 impact on Camden using the governments own Green Book methodology. Surely HS2 could adopt that piece of work for this assessment?
Indeed we have seen HS2 willing to undertaken mitigating works for London boroughs adversely affected by the proposed works when it offered Ealing Councils the tunnel option under the borough at between £600-800 million to the public purse last summer before the public consultations. Surely Camden residents deserve to be treated in a similar vein given they will be most affected by HS2 in the whole of the country not alone in London. This just goes to show that such issues can be addressed if HS2 are willing to listen.
But finally thank you to my uncle in NYC ( since retired & enjoying life in Long Island ) for introducing me to DDD so early in my life! I never thought it would be of use to me but it has in appreciating the various options for HS2 at Euston station. I must go over and see him soon and see if he has got any other pearls of wisdom.