HS2: Stratford loses out as hub for High Speed 2 rail link

Stratford International was judged not big enough to become the main London base for the proposed High Speed 2 (HS2) railway line, approved by the government last week.

But the station’s possible role in the service to Birmingham has not hit the buffers just yet.

The first phase of the �32.7 billion line will start to take shape from 2016. Euston has been selected as the main London terminus.

Rail lobby group Greengauge 21 and East Ham MP Stephen Timms urged transport secretary Justine Greening not to ignore Stratford before giving the scheme the go-ahead.

Findings released by the Department for Transport last week revealed bosses considered 27 alternative sites to Euston.

“In light of the concerns raised, HS2 Ltd looked again at its station selection process,” the report outlined.

“Stratford International could not easily accommodate an extra 10 platforms within its existing land footprint, nor is capacity on local networks sufficient for the additional numbers of passengers that would disembark here.”

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The existing Channel Tunnel rail link, known as High Speed 1, runs from the Channel Tunnel to St Pancras via Stratford International.

The government plans to link the two services, meaning passengers will be able to travel from Paris and Brussels to Birmingham, without needing to change trains.

This could be implemented by building a new tunnel or using the existing North London line.

“Stratford and Ebbsfleet stations in particular are already configured for handling international services,” the report continued.

“In the future, as service specifications for HS2 are being developed, the government will be keen to explore options for HS2 trains to serve these and other stations on HS1.”