Commuters have been warned that they face a decade of travel misery during works to create the controversial high speed HS2 line.
Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that train operators running Euston services told the Department for Transport and Network Rail that HS2 works will have a ‘catastrophic’ impact on existing train services, warning of disruption for ten years.
But those behind the project say it is ‘vitally’ important for this country.
Spokeman Ben Ruse said: “We cannot continue to patch and mend our Victorian railway. We need to take the bold decisions now to secure our infrastructure into the next century.
“HS2 will be a vital artery benefitting communities right across the country.”
Campaign group HS2 Action Alliance obtained copies of notes and reports from talks between train operators, the Department for Transport and Network Rail which state that local commuter trains will suffer a capacity shortfall of 22 per cent, that 40 per cent of long-distance trains will be delayed, and trains will not be allowed to stay long enough at Euston platforms for proper servicing and cleaning.
The action group’s Richard Houghton said: “HS2 will, from the moment spades go in the ground, be very likely to needlessly create the very sort of chaos and capacity crisis it is proposed to avoid.
“It will put rail travel back 30 years.
“Euston would overnight be operating on a knife-edge, with absolutely no room for error – or for recovery if something goes wrong.
“Everybody is aware of the type of chaos that erupts if Heathrow, which runs at 99 per cent capacity, suffers any sort of issue.
“The difference is that Euston would be plunged into chaos for ten years solid – and while aircraft can use alternative airports, trains cannot use alternative London terminals.”
London Midland declined to comment because the works on HS2 continue beyond the end of its franchise.