Government to release upfront funding for HS2 Euston tunnel

The government is set to unlock construction of the rail tunnel to HS2’s Euston station by providing taxpayer cash upfront and trying to recoup money from businesses and passengers later, according to reports.

The 4.5 mile tunnel is set to get the go-ahead in coming weeks, with more than £1bn of taxpayer upfront cash to fund it, said the Financial Times.

Construction News understands the government is examining options to recoup its outlay, underpinned by contributions from people and businesses that the development supports.

“Essentially Euston’s redevelopment is being made possible by private sector capital, and that applies for work going forwards but it also applies to work going back in time,” a source told the FT.

The government said today (8 May) that it would not comment on the “speculative” FT story on funding for the tunnel.

But it said it remains committed to its proposal to fund the construction of a new Euston station using private cash.

A Department for Transport (DfT) spokesperson said: “The government remains committed to delivering a privately financed Euston station as previously set out, helping to deliver value for money for taxpayers.

“It is one of the largest regeneration opportunities in central London and there is already extensive support and interest from the private sector to invest – and we will set out full details in due course.”

Shortly after that announcement, Camden Council said that the government’s plans to provide 10,000 homes in the area around the station were potentially undeliverable.

Back in December, Mace chief executive Mark Reynolds criticised the government for ignoring his firm’s proposals on how the private sector could deliver Euston station. He said that his company’s  proposals had “gone into a black hole”.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak announced in October that a new public-private development corporation would lead the development of the Euston terminus and tunnel in a bid to save £6.5bn.

HS2’s role at Euston stops once it successfully lowers two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) into the station site next year, as its government funding lasts until then. German specialist Herrenknecht is currently manufacturing those TBMs in Germany.

Euston will be the end point for HS2 in London.

CN approached Camden Council for comment.

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