Final tunnel machine sets off on major London HS2 tunneling project

Work on constructing new tunnels in London as part of High Speed 2 has seen the last of four tunneling machines begin digging to the west of London.

As the organisation behind HS2 note in their new press release, “The 8.4-mile tunnel will run from Victoria Road in Ealing to West Ruislip in Hillingdon – carrying trains in and out of London – and is being constructed by four huge tunnel boring machines (TBMs).”

Four tunneling machines are set to reach their destination in 2025.

This site has generally refrained from covering HS2 given the south east London focus, but of course a project of such scale will impact all corners of the capital.

For one, the Elizabeth line will be a direct train to Old Oak Common station for transfer to HS2 services. That’s a lot easier than the change to tubes in central London to reach Euston.

HS2 cuts

Government cuts to the proposed HS2 service ordered by Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt also threatens to cause major problems with the Elizabeth line. Their decision to cut various sections including the final stretch from Old Oak Common to Euston will see many more people having to change to the Elizabeth line  – but capacity doesn’t exist to do so.

Transport for London believe that cutting Euston station and forcing everyone to change at new west London station at Old Oak Common onto the Elizabeth line to reach parts of London will require new trains – yet there’s no money for them.

Adding to that problem is that the Alstom factory in Derby that built the Aventra stock used on the Elizabeth line is in danger of going under any day due to a lack of new orders. Only the DfT can sort that – and they show little interest in doing so.

Class 345 stock on the Elizabeth line. HS2 cuts means a need for more trains but no funding

So not only will the UK lose its last proper railway construction factory (most other assemble kits shipped in from aboard) but then see major problems for many years to come due to a lack of trains for the Elizabeth line. No other company will provide such a small order conforming to the specific needs of the line.

The lack of forward planning from central government, the Treasury, Number 10 and the Department for Transport will end up costing taxpayers more. Make no mistake about it. One reason things cost so much in the UK compared to other developed nations is endless changes and short term changes and interventions as typified by HS2 and its interchange with the Elizabeth line.

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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

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