Euston HS2 #8

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Being the second part on how Euston got a new tube entrance. This post features the actual work to build the new entrance itself. In the first part we looked at the long term preparation works – with a substantial part of that work involving the filling in of the old taxi rank entrance building a new floor across the concourse area. There were also lots of other jobs which eventually brought the whole project together. It must be remembered this ‘new entrance’ really is a preliminary to the main body of HS2 work which will take place at Euston.

Network Rail regularly reminds people its ‘all part of the upgrade’ at Euston. It is an upgrade of sorts however the real objective is to adapt the station for the new HS2 railway and this new entrance is one of those steps on that particular road. All the old tube entrances (including this new one) will soon be surplus and a major new entrance area will in fact be sited parallel to the existing station and beneath the new HS2 station itself.

One of the most impressive things re the new entrance is how it actually looks compared to publicity shots. In those early artists representations (such as that shown below) it looks quite smart whereas in reality its quite cheap and indeed somewhat nasty.

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How the new entrance was supposed to look! Compare this much smarter design with how it currently looks. Source: Network Rail

We begin this where the previous post left off, this being at the end of March 2019. At that time the stairwell to the taxi rank had been filled in and a new floor area placed upon the site. In due course this would enable the new Euston tube entrance to be built.

The following two pictures from Network Rail are a reminder of what was going on with the old taxi rank stairwell, and how it was being levelled off to provide additional new concourse, temporarily, before becoming part of the new Euston tube entrance.

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@NetworkRailEUS said: Have you wondered what’s going on behind the hoardings? #eustonischanging and we are busy creating more space. This area was originally the stairs to the taxi rank! Some new concourse space for our customers.

And this was the very work going on behind the hoardings directly opposite as one came up the escalators from the tube station. Without that particular work there wouldn’t even be a new entrance hall for the underground station!

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Coming up from the tube station – the temporary hoardings surrounding the former taxi rank stairwell is still evident right opposite the escalators.

But first, there was still a fair amount of work to do. This includes changing the layout and building new partition walls, wiring and the rest of it. It would be perhaps a full two weeks from the completion of the floor to the opening of the new tube entrance and in that time there were several changes to the concourse area.

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The temporary passageway sited where the new tube entrance would be. 3rd April 2019. The stairwell to the former taxi rank is behind the hoarding on the right.

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Looking from the passageway to the top of the escalators. This is now the new tube entrance lobby. 3rd April 2019.

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At the top of the escalators with the old access points from the concourse still in use. This area is now the new public seating area. 3rd April 2019.

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The outside of the new tube entrance with the posh artists image of the entrance depicted! 4th April 2019.

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Escalators closed Easter weekend. This was when NR removed the hoardings and made a larger concourse temporarily available to the public. Saturday 20th April 2019.

After the Easter bank holiday weekend this would be the first time the new floor area would come into use. This as we saw in the first part of this post was once the staircase leading to the station’s old taxi rank. That was filled in and a new floor placed across the top. On this weekend the hoardings surrounding the works for the new floor were finally taken down.

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All the hoardings removed giving us the temporary new look concourse – without the taxi rank stairwell present of course. 20th April 2019.

Network Rail in fact tweeted pictures similar to mine here showing this and other work on the expanded concourse area during the Easter holiday closure. They deleted their tweets a few days later for reasons I do not know of.

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The larger concourse in evidence 24th April 2019. This would be for just three weeks then the new tube entrance would be placed here.

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Another view taken 24th April. One can just make out the new and old floors! Few, if anyone, would realise they were walking upon the site of an old staircase that led to the former taxi ranks!

After this date, work shifted to focus on the station awnings along the southern side of the piazza. This aspect of the work, including stripping out of the old retail units, would have to be completed, and then the space made available for others to begin the fitting out for the new tube entrance.

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Work on the actual tube entrance frontage begins, including new false ceilings, wiring and intermediate support pillars. 30th April 2019.

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The new tube entrance lobby in its early stages of construction. The new pillars are sort of cosmetic, simply hiding a few rather undesirable but immovable supports. 30th April 2019.

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Just two more weeks of direct tube station connection via the main concourse! 30th April 2019.

In the intermediate period when the concourse was at its fullest once again, something that has not been seen for many years, the passenger flows were freely moving and everyone was able to attain their objectives – either the main line station or destinations outside of the station without much interruption.

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New look concourse – but not for long! The post box was moved a few feet from its original position by the taxi rank stairs. 1st May 2019.

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Another view, this time showing the temporary fencing behind which is work underway to facilitate the new entrance. Compare with the image taken 24 April 2019. The whole area seen here would in time become the new tube entrance! 1st May 2019.

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More work inside the station during the early Bank holiday weekend. The hollowed out lintels are for the pillars. 5th May 2019.

It was during the bank holiday closure that Network Rail removed the two large information booths in the centre of the concourse. The replacements for these have merely been those pop up stalls which can be moved about the concourse. After the bank holiday weekend things picked up and one could see the new tube entrance finally taking shape

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Ongoing work to build the new tube entrance signs (eg name of station, directions, emergency signs etc.). The new pillars within the tube entrance can be seen. 9th May 2019.

Things really got moving on the 11th May 2019. That day and the following night-time (the early hours of the 12th May) would be when things got into full overdrive and many workers were seen on site finishing off the various elements and getting it all ready for the final stage of the works, which would be to partition off the entire area and make it totally separate from the main concourse.

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A view looking towards the works site clearly showing the completed pillars which will be sited in the middle of the new tube lobby. The new signage on the interior of the new entrance can be seen. 11th May 2019.

The next few pictures show the installation of the new tube roundel. I cannot say I am impressed with this in any way at all. I was actually quite surprised at the cheap and shoddy ways used for this. Looking at the artists impressions its clear they were aiming for a nice look, thus I have no idea what was in their minds when they began putting this up instead…

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The best quality tube sign ever being installed at Euston – no doubt it will be donated to Acton one day! 11th May 2019.

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Does anyone think this fell off the back of a lorry? A bit of scaffolding pole and dodgy plywood for the make benefit of a glorious new tube roundel at Euston station!

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The new cheaper looking underground sign going up.

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Nah! It dont fit! Worker struggles to get new roundel sign into position. The black pillar is in the way.

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Creative solution! Shove the new sign behind the pillar. Works fantastic except part of the roundel logo’s hidden by the pillar!

The crappy work seen here has resulted in a rather oddly balanced tube station sign. One one side the sign is right over to the station building wall, and on the other – because it didn’t fit properly – it sits well away from the station building wall.

And that plywood? I’m sure they could have made it look much nicer. It wasn’t a prerogative they were looking to attain though!

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All ready for the unveiling ceremony by the Queen. Quick hide those unsightly deeply etched grooves on the plywood!

Notice how this side of the sign sits true against the wall whilst the other side doesn’t.

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LED emergency sign in place on the new tube entrance.

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The new look tube entrance in its final stages of work with the rather cheap looking tube roundel sign evident! 11th May 2019.

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The final part of the new tube entrance ‘jigsaw’ coming together late at night 11th May 2019. This entails the supports that will form the partition to separate entrance lobby from the main concourse.

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The new partition in progress of construction. This was an overnight job in order to make the new entrance available from the morning of Sunday 12th May. During the night supports would also be placed straight across the concourse at this point to build the east part of the new partition wall.

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Similar perspective taken sometime after the new entrance and lobby area had been completed.

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New temporary signage being put up late at night 11th May 2019 to make it clear lifts are available as alternative to the escalators. (Its also a drier route in times of rain but don’t let that secret get out lol!)

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Coming off the top of the escalators into the new tube entrance on its first day of use 12th May 2019.

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The new seating on the side where the former tube station access was once. Notice the larger Underground sign apparently pointing the wrong direction away from the new entrance. The smaller one with ‘please follow the signs’ got it right. Is this actually helping or confusing the passengers?

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The new seating area in use and the new entrance on the other side of the partition. The sign that is visible correctly points in the direction of the new entrance. 12 May 2019.

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A view from the same spot looking into the new tube entrance lobby area. Note the security guard who is not a TfL employee!

One interesting observation about this new tube entrance is its not manned by TfL staff. Its generally overseen by security staff who have responsibility for the adjacent station piazza and these are obviously contracted in by Network Rail. Its a very unusual situation because although its a new ‘tube’ entrance, the property itself is still Network Rail’s thus TfL have no jurisdiction.

There are of course other places on the tube network with a similar situation. Fulham Broadway and Hammersmith (District/Piccadilly) for example where the shopping areas through which one access the tube station is managed by companies who use their own security and of course London’s other main line railway stations. At these places one can see clearly who manages the different sections.

This arrangement at Euston however is a bit perverse because the new entrance is screaming ‘I am the tube station!’ But its not even the tube in any sense, its not even TfL’s property yet to the casual observer they would think that this was TfL’s responsibility.

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The new tube entrance in use 12th May 2019.

Even the escalators themselves and the lower lobby leading to the ticket hall do not belong to TfL, but Network Rail. TfL in fact only assume responsibility in the immediate area of the ticket hall itself. Yet when one enters the ‘new entrance’ one is in their sense entering what they perceive to be TfL property.

This kind of quirk I am well aware happens at other locations. Highbury and Islington for example is the reverse. It is fully managed by TfL tube staff. The problem here is its also a London Overground station yet the staff on that particular side are not allowed to oversee/use jurisdiction in many parts of the station. As a result their presence is limited to just one small area of the ticket hall area solely to assist LO passengers with any queries they may have. Similarly the London Overground platforms are not the tube staff’s responsibility thus they have no jurisdiction there. Its oddly quite funny because they are all employed by the same company – TfL!

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The bare wood areas on the new tube station sign was painted on the 12th. Despite that it still looks horrible!

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Les parapluies de Eustonbourg! A rainy day in May. Note the incompleteness of the new frontage.

Many people don’t like the new entrance! Even I don’t. Its contrived, although it does have a reason for being built. However people get wet when it rains plus the overall atmosphere is not the same as coming up into the stupendous hall of Euston station itself which was the original intent, and there are certainly a lot of tweets related to the inconvenience of the new entrance whereas the old arrangement had barely any!

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It is indeed pouring very hard! A new tube entrance no doubt for the making of many a bedraggled commuter!

The new entrance has induced substantial new passenger flows which are in conflict with people going in and out of the station itself, whereas before there wasn’t any of this sort, and there have been many complaints on social media about this, with Network Rail saying it would do all it could to mitigate the issues.

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The new entrance a couple of days ago (2nd July.) It does look as if this state is as far as its going to get. Scruffy, unkempt and the rest of it. At least one can see the new tube sign’s going off at a ‘tangent’ lol! But why oh why did they bother building this dump of an entrance in the first place?

Those DDD3 plans!

In the first article of this two part series (Euston HS2 #7) I mentioned I had used what are ‘DDD3’ plans. These are not the official Euston HS2 plans but some drawn up by an individual who would be considerably affected by HS2 and the plans submitted by a collaborative third party (this being Camden council on behalf of residents of Camden) and included in a document which held a number of objections to the full scope of Euston HS2.

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The DDD plans title page.

The DDD3 matter was drawn to my notice by one of my readers, Dave, who rightly pointed out ‘DDD’ was no official HS2 canon. He left a comment on that post which said:

The “DDD3” (Double Deck Down) plans are nothing to do with HS2.
DDD (in it’s various incarnations) was/is an alternate proposed by a gentleman petitioning against HS2 and seeking for HS2 to not demolish anything (including his business) west of (current) Euston. DDD should not be regarded as canon and was rejected by Parliament.
I suggest the best evidence so far to what is proposed for Euston comes from HS2’s chief engineer (Professor McNaughton) such as this…https://www.parliament.uk/documents/lords-committees/High-Speed-Rail/HOL-10018-Euston-Overview.pdf
This shows (amongst others) underground passages from Euston Square (tube) platforms and a new entrance on Gordon Street as well as entrances in the main station concourse. Of course, as you rightly say, this is all “high level” design at present as the detailed plans are not yet available.

I must admit I have been using the DDD plans a lot because they are quite indicative of what is happening at Euston without going through all the wheat and chaff. It is clear the third party themselves did an enormous amount of research and this is reflected in those plans. Not only that a lot of the said work in that substantial document (Euston Overview November 2015) is also by HS2’s Professor McNaughton (who complied these other sources as well as his own stuff/HS2 canon) and this document I have been using a few times to gain insight into how Euston HS2 will be built. Further the DDD document includes a number of plans from the official HS2 canon that Dave mentioned.

Thus whilst the DDD3 plans are not official HS2 canon, they have at least helped me to understand the huge planning nightmare that is Euston HS2 and they do detail the underground station/new tube station concourse proposals from several perspectives.

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