ENGINEERS have admitted that tunnelling the high speed rail route through the borough would be 'too costly'.
Residents and councillors had their first chance to quiz officials behind the London to Birmingham link in the first of many regular 'community forums' conducted by HS2 chiefs.
Labour and Conservative councillors joined a select number of residents' groups affected in Greenford, Northolt and Perivale at the private meeting at Northolt High School on Monday night. Residents in Acton and Hanger Lane attended a separate meeting on Wednesday for those near the proposed interchange at Old Oak Common.
A spokesman for HS2 Ltd said the meetings were a 'key plank' of its engagement with stakeholders and a chance to hear local concerns and ways to minimise the environmental impact.
But Alex Nieora, of North Ealing Against HS2 warned it was no more than a PR exercise, saying: "I'm not really sure what they want to achieve. I'm concerned they're going to split the whole issue into tiny, specific concerns - divide and rule as it were - and try to fob people off.
"It's just for PR, unless we end up benefitting from it in some way, and I'm talking not about little things but getting a tunnel or something really significant for our local community."
Ealing Council said it is committed to lobbying for a tunnel to appease residents.
HS2 staff said they are willing to discuss mitigation options, including extending the Ruislip tunnel which stops on the Northolt border. However they said the reason it was not extended through Ealing was down to cost.
The forums are expected to meet every two months as HS2 finalises its plans before a hybrid bill is taken to Parliament next year.
Jenny Jones, the Green Party mayoral candidate, showed her support when she met Perivale resdients on Sunday afternoon to discuss the impact of HS2.