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High Speed 2 construction could lead to 183 weekend track possessions

Major construction work on High Speed 2 could result in as many as 183 weekends-worth of track possessions, according to figures from HS2 Ltd.

The company has estimated that several passenger lines will be partially or fully closed for a total of 133 weekends during construction, which is due to last until 2026. Freight lines will be affected for 50 weekends.

Out of these weekend possessions, 76 are due to last between 24 and 28 hours, with the remaining 107 lasting between 40 and 72 hours.

Euston station is expected to experience 19 full and partial weekend closures between 2015 and 2017, while new Crossrail terminal Old Oak Common will be subject to 29 weekend possessions between 2021 and 2025.

The work will also see the line from Derby to Birmingham taken out of action for a total of 32 weekends.

The line between Bicester/Aylesbury and Calvert will undergo 47 weekend possessions and the Chiltern Lines track from West Ruislip to Princes Risborough will be taken for 17 weekend possessions.

The West Coast Main Line will also partly close for 31 weekends as a new flyover junction is constructed near Handsacre.

HS2 Ltd has indicated that the number and duration of possessions could rise further with “revisions in engineering design”, “more detailed construction planning”, “uncertainty over approval processes” or “unforeseen delays during construction”.

The paper outlining the extent of the weekend closures was initially released in June but was brought to light earlier this week by anti-HS2 campaign group HS2 Action Alliance.

According to the group, the paper proves HS2 is being “less than honest with the public” by planning a “huge number of closures”.

An HS2 Ltd spokesman said: “Our railways are becoming increasingly crowded. Britain desperately needs this new high-speed rail network to boost rail capacity and improve links between our biggest cities. 

“There will be times when construction impacts on the current railway, but this will be carefully planned with Network Rail and the train operators.  HS2 Ltd will do all it can to minimise disruption to passengers. 

“Compensation to the train operators for any such disruption will be drawn from the existing budget for the HS2 project.”

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