HS2 Ltd's report suggested that the most cost-effective and beneficial route would be to omit Heathrow, as the line heads north-west from London Euston, but for a spur to be built at Old Oak Common for connections to/from Heathrow which would take 10 mins. This would ensure those travelling between London and Birmingham could enjoy a 49-minute journey time and further afield, London-Glasgow in just over 3 hours.
BAA - owner of Heathrow, British Airways and civil engineers were dead against the original report's findings. Lord Adonis commissioned an independent report into the Heathrow element and appointed former Tory MP Lord Mawhinney to chair it. The findings were made last week and they comprehensively back the original report.
During the early stages, with HS2's construction being up to Birmingham, there is 'no defensible, economic or business case' for Heathrow to be included on the main route. When HS2 reaches Manchester and Leeds and beyond, then the spur should be built - but only a spur, which by this time will be the only option since HS2's route will not be deviated when operational!
LEYTR Comment: As laymen to the building of railways, neither of us could fathom why the Tories were dead set on routing HS2 via Heathrow when the number of internal flights the line is likely to offset being tiny. This would have an increase in journey times and therefore be detrimental to everyone else. They played down the "HS2 via Heathrow justifies cancelling the third runway" angle when it became clear just how ridiculously minuscule the affect of HS2 would be on flights from Europe's busiest airport.
Lord Mawhinney makes another recommendation that is not related to Heathrow: that HS2's terminus in central London should be at Old Oak Common and not at the re-built Euston! Travel between Old Oak Common and central London would be made using Crossrail, which of course would be operational by then. This has the potential to alienate more people than routeing HS2 via Heathrow. The whole point, surely, is to make High Speed rail as accessible to as many people as possible. What will be more convenient? Jumping on a Virgin Pendolino at Euston for travel to Glasgow in 4 hours or lugging all your cases down two escalators to Crossrail and then transferring at Old Oak Common (where more escalators will surely be encountered) onto HS2 for a 30-minute time saving - not to mention the premium fares HS2 will charge.
Mawhinney's reasoning is that since no link between Euston and St. Pancras is planned and thus HS2 will not link-up with HS1, there seems very little point in Euston being served by HS2, though to assume the only people travelling will want to additionally use HS1 to France or Belgium *in the same journey* is incredibly presumptuous to say the least.