IMG 9466fi 1 - Euston HS2 #9

Being the one where they say Euston’s a changin!’

I haven’t covered this particular part of Euston HS2 before in detail even though I had every intention of doing so. Its just that there was little in the way of how I could metion this new hoarding that had popped up alongside Sainsbury’s on the west side of the station, but now the hoarding has become something of interest, it means there’s a story to be had, so let’s get into it. Its not entirely new stuff but I’ll illustrate briefly what went on and bring the details up to date.

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The former external walking route to Melton Street along the base of the towers.

As the months through the first half of 2019 progressed, lots of work went on in various parts of the station and of course the new taxi rank came into use. The old one was taken out of use and because that had been done it enabled moves to begin to prepare the area for the demolition of the two Euston towers.

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Just before the new tube entrance was opened, this being the 10th May, this other route was closed off!

The demolition of the two towers is a very slow job with stripping of the insides taking place. The scaffolding and cranes went up some time ago (I have covered this bit before.) However to make the public areas of the station really safe to use, and importantly the west side access to Melton Street, the public walkway along the bottom of one of the towers had to be closed off, forcing people to use the covered way adjacent to Sainsburys and other retail units.

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As this picture shows the walking route is now via the covered way. The hoarding had just been put up and was painted white to begin with.

For quite sometime this new hoarding has been sort of plain but recently it was decorated with these new decals based around the idea that Euston is changing. Its one of the ongoing public displays that convey information and history to the public and I think its the first display to actually carry a picture of the projected HS2 station.

According to London Euston’s Twitter timeline the display went up the first week of July.

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How it looks now with the new hoarding – which we take a closer look at.

One of the surprises has to be these large scale images depicting the former Euston Arch. Its a departure in terms of what Euston station has displayed so far as a fair part of this is about the station’s history but also its future. These pictures are nice to see but I dont think they’re being depicted in the sense of like, ‘oh shit, we got rid of that historic arch…dammit… wish we could bring it back.’

I think its merely something that’s being mentioned as part of the overall history of Euston station. What is history is history and in that part of the station’s soon to be future history no doubt comes HS2 itself. That is if it does continue to be built given the present uncertainty about the entire cost of the scheme and whether it does really deliver value for money.

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The famous Euston Arch in 1919.

As one can see this bit is about the station’s early history and how its services developed. I’ll be saying something about the Caledonian Sleeper in a moment…

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The reference to the first tube platforms clearly denotes both the City and South London and the Charing Cross Euston and Hampstead Railway. The question is which of these arrived first. It was the City and South London who beat the Hampstead company by about six weeks in providing the first deep level tube services at Euston.

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The old station was demolished in the 1960s…

Having shown the Euston Arch its a surprise they didn’t mention the old station’s other merits such as the Great Hall, but perhaps there wasn’t the space for this – or even the need not to get too emotive – over what was lost in the 1960s when the new station was built.

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The story on this panel runs from 1907 to 1997 and the destruction of the old station is very briefly alluded to. The Euston Arch comes back next with a picture showing its demolition…

As I have pointed out elsewhere (and some didn’t believe me when I said it) the Euston Arch was demolished much earlier than the rest of the main line station because it was in the way of the new tube station!

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Demolishing the famous arch 1961.

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Looking back along the timeline with the arch’s demolition evident.

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The timeline progresses towards the state of preparedness for HS2.

At the east end of this display we have the old station (well 1960s is old now aint it!) At the other end is the future – HS2 – which is incidentally going to be in this very part of the station! There’s actually a HS2 picture in the display! Its not a finalised image of any sort, its simply one of those artist illustrations that attempt to give some idea of what the HS2 terminus at Euston could look like.

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The view from the HS2 picture along the hoarding towards the past.

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At least this is the current HS2 logo as used by the railway construction company itself. The previous picture looked like this:

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The same picture but with the older HS2 logo. Source: Twitter

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The new tube entrance, the new taxi rank, new seating, and new look concourse – all the things making Euston station ‘fit for 21st Century travel…’ but a lot of these things are actually temporary and not really part of the station’s long term plans…

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Looking from the present to the past along the Euston station timeline.

Is Euston really a station fit for the 21st Century? The fact they’ve posted pictures of that dreadful new tube entrance doesn’t bid very well! The station staff told me it was temporary so I wonder why they’ve even bothered to put these images up especially as its not staying if the staff’s testimony is to be believed! Here’s their message to me sent on July 5th 2019:

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It’s not the final state we’ll be making further changes including a ‘proper roundel.’ Source: NetworkRailEUS

I did as they asked. They didn’t get back to me so that’s the schism that exists between these paid staff and the piss poor…. the status quo must obviously be maintained!

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The station’s new facilities proudly displayed as a photomontage!

BTW I’ve jumped the bits where its all about food advertising, cafes, bars, and consumables etc. This panel comes up twice, at the beginning and the end. Its naturally information relevant for people looking for an idea of what’s on offer at Euston station itself but its not historically relevant and that’s why its not been shown.

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The very end of the new hoarding with the necessary contractors, transport companies and government department displayed.

Let’s go back to the Caledonian Sleeper. Its interesting that out of all the historical possibilities (the famous expresses, the Irish Mail, the LMS Coronation Scots and so on, the one thing they would pick out would be this! Clearly the decision was done because the new Caledionan Sleeper had just made its debut, but in the event it wasn’t a very good choice!

As the above picture shows, the Caledonian Sleeper is in fact credited as one of those companies ‘working in partnership to build… a better station’ thus the reason why its received mention rather than some other important transport aspect of Euston station’s history.

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Caledonian Sleeper, which has turned out to be a huge disaster ever since the launch of its new services in April this year. Even just a few days ago they were still having major problems with their new trains and at the time of writing staff have voted for industrial action due to stress caused by the new stock’s unreliability.