Sir Simon, London’s Deputy Mayor (pictured left), speaking at the Place West London event on October 14, gave GLA support to the interchange for the first time.He said “Euston cannot handle the quantum of passengers” who would need to switch from a new London-to-the-North high speed rail line onto other modes of transport at the preferred London terminus. “An interchange at Old Oak would allow a connection to Crossrail” and a proper connection to Heathrow Airport.
Old Oak gathered support from nearly all speakers at Place West London, with Alex Williams (TfL), Simon Bennett (Crossrail), and Stephen Greenhalgh (LB Hammersith & Fulham) all saying it was the best choice for connecting high speed rail to Crossrail and Heathrow. Williams reconfirmed Sir Simon’s point that Euston lacks the capacity to cope.
Mike Forster, of BAA (pictured right), made the point that all Heathrow’s competitors have direct links to high sped rail with a station inside the airport, and argued that the full benefits of substitution from short-haul & domestic flights would only be felt if Heathrow had a High Speed station of its own. Forster’s numbers suggested that “if there is no direct link, we will lose about half the demand”, and only get half the reduction in flying that might be achieved with an HS2 station at Heathrow.
But, as Jackie Sadek points out in her Estates Gazette column– no-one sought to make the case for “the potential to regenerate acres and acres of land, as a result of this linkage”. She feels that “when the regeneration case is layered on top I think it will be pretty well unassailable, no matter how many rude remarks Philip Hammond makes about his bad experiences at Willesden Junction“.