Central London scheme has seen more than 1,000 people leave project since it was mothballed earlier this year

Arcadis’s new chief executive Alan Brookes has joined the rollcall of industry names to query the government’s decision to mothball the HS2 site at Euston.

Earlier this year, transport secretary Mark Harper said work at Euston and part of the scheme north of Birmingham was being mothballed on cost grounds.

The government has reduced the amount of money the project will get in the current two year funding cycle which runs out in April 2025.


Source: Tom Campbell

Arcadis chief Alan Brookes says he ‘doesn’t understand’ the decision to pause work at the HS2 Euston site

HS2 is hoping work at Euston will start in April 2025 and earlier this month the scheme’s project director for Euston, Andy Swift, told Building he was aiming towards this date for work to get back up and running fully.

However in an interview with Building to be published next week, Brookes, who was appointed to the top role at Arcadis last month, said he “didn’t understand” the Euston decision in the first place.

Arcadis is working on other parts of the line, including project managing the new station at Birmingham’s Curzon Street, but Brookes said: “I would not start something like that, go as far as you’ve gone and say ‘we’ll leave it at Old Oak Common’. You’ve got to have real access into London. With these big projects, once you’ve made a decision you have to stick with it. We do seem to have this stop-start attitude in this country.”

See also >> ‘The design team has gone from 500 to six.’ What HS2 Euston is doing now

Brookes, who is based between London and his Cheshire home when not running Arcadis from its headquarters in Amsterdam, said: “Coming down to London, why would I get off at Old Oak? What is it actually going to save me? I’ll still go into Euston on the existing line.”

The decision has previously been criticised by the chair of the National Infrastructure Commission John Armitt who told Building: “Having decided to build it, we should get on and build it. The cheapest way is to build it as quickly as possible.”


The number of people working on the Euston site will fall to around 200 in the coming weeks

Others to query the move have included Alex Vaughan, the chief executive of Costain, which is also working on the scheme just north of the Euston site, who said: “The whole purpose of HS2 is to unlock the connectivity from Manchester and the Midlands with Euston and central London.” And Michael Speakman, the chief executive of ground engineer Keller, which is also carrying out work on HS2, said it would be “senseless” not to go into Euston.

The Euston site still has around 450 people on it but this will reduce to a couple of hundred in the coming months as work to make it safe is completed.

The number of people working on the job has been slashed by more than 1,000 since Harper’s announcement in March – including the design team, made up of Arup, WSP and Grimshaw, which has been cut from 500 to just half a dozen.

Earlier this week, HS2 minister Huw Merriman defended the decision to mothball Euston in his latest update on the scheme to MPs.

He said: “[Euston] is not affordable at this [current £4.8bn] cost, nor in any case, does the government have the financial headroom to proceed with the construction over the next two years.

“We will, therefore, use the time to look again at the Euston station design to ensure it delivers for passengers, the local community and taxpayers.

“This will include considering how we might partner with the private sector to capture benefits for customers.

“It will require careful prioritisation of requirements and a willingness from stakeholders to compromise.”