Victorian railway arch to rise again

Euston station is set to see its once famous Victorian arch entrance rebuilt. The 21m tall structure featuring four stone columns was demolished in 1961 to make way for the current terminus building.

Now the Transport Minister John Hayes has pledged to see the arch rise again as part of his crusade against ‘the cult of ugliness’ of much of the built environment, including transport architecture.

“We will make good the terrible damage that was done to Euston by resurrecting the Euston Arch,” he promised last week.

“Recently I have seen its stones, pulled from the River Lea, where they were ignobly dumped in 1962,” he went on. “I support the Euston Arch Trust’s great ambition to see those stones stand in Euston once again as part of the rebuilt arch. What a statement it will be of the revolt against the cult of ugliness.”

The Minister added that plans to rebuild the arch will be taken forward in the coming weeks.

Historian Dan Cruickshank, who helped to raise some of the stones from the Prescott Channel in east London in 1994 described the Minister’s announcement as “wonderful news”.

Euston Arch trustee and engineer Alan Baxter also welcomed the pledge to rebuild the structure. “This is great news and is something that has to happen,” he said. “It was a terrible wrong that the arch was demolished; it was a monument to the first railway age.”

Alan Baxter added that York Stone from the arch, recovered from the river and currently in storage in Lincolnshire, “is in remarkably good condition”. Nearly two thirds of the stone is thought to have been recovered.

Rebuilding the Euston arch will mean that Victorian stone entrances welcome passengers at either end of the proposed High Speed 2 line. A similar structure still stands at Curzon Street in Birmingham.

A spokesperson for HS2 Ltd said: “The Euston Arch was an iconic emblem of Britain’s pioneering railway era. HS2’s plans for Euston are still developing and there will be opportunities in the coming years to look at detailed proposals to return the arch.”