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Boris calls for Bakerloo extension and Crossrail 2 by 2050

Plans to develop further Crossrail routes and extend the Bakerloo Line have been put forward by Mayor of London Boris Johnson in an attempt to solve the capital’s future infrastructure challenges.

There are also ambitious, if vague, suggestions of a new outer ‘orbital railway’, apparently referred to by officials as ‘R25’, as in M25 (see below).

In his £1.3 trillion London Infrastructure Plan 2050, Johnson stated that the capital has shown it can deliver world-class infrastructure, but “we need to plan now for future investments to keep up with the growth projected to 2050”.

Within the document it was stated that demand for public transport is forecast to increase by 50% with increased demand for Underground and rail services likely to increase by 60-80% by 2050.

To meet this demand, the Mayor said he will establish a London Infrastructure Delivery Board composed of senior representatives from all of the main infrastructure providers in London to make use of their expertise.

The draft document proposes an increase in train frequencies on the Tube from a current maximum of 34 to up to 36 trains per hour across the Jubilee, Piccadilly and Northern Lines by 2035. These changes would increase the peak capacity of these lines by 20-50%, and it is expected that new, air-conditioned, walk-through trains would also add capacity and improve passenger comfort.

Additionally, by extending the Bakerloo Line south from Elephant & Castle through Southwark into Lewisham and beyond, the Mayor hopes to transform the connectivity of this area of south London.

The document also suggests four-tracking the West Anglia lines, and a South London Metro.

Further Crossrail projects have been suggested – starting with Crossrail 2 (Chelsea-Hackney) by 2030 and increasing the frequency of Crossrail 1 trains. “This investment would add 10% to overall rail network capacity and introduce Tube-style frequencies to many parts of Outer London,” the report suggested.

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Johnson said: “This plan is a real wake up call to the stark needs that face London over the next half century. Infrastructure underpins everything we do and we all use it every day.

“Without a long-term plan for investment and the political will to implement it this city will falter. Londoners need to know they will get the homes, water, energy, schools, transport, digital connectivity and better quality of life that they expect.”

It is hoped that by modernising key central London stations with new ticket halls, escalators, lifts and interchanges to enhance capacity the changes will create a catalyst for growth and development of the surrounding area, for instance at Holborn, Victoria, Waterloo and Euston.

On top of extending the current plans for night-time running on some Tube lines, the document proposes night-time running of the rail network and out-of-hours freight deliveries and servicing to ensure there is a transport system  in place to support a 24/7 city.

Steve Fox, BAM Nuttall CEO, said: “We are encouraged by the visible commitment made by the Mayor and the GLA to improving London’s infrastructure.

“We fully support the introduction of a London Infrastructure Delivery Board that will be able to influence and assist industry and the GLA by providing expert knowledge and advice. Having been involved significantly with HS1, Crossrail and the Olympic Park Development, which are huge success stories for our industry, we know that by working together we can all deliver a more successful outcome.”

John Elledge of analysed and expanded on the plan’s suggestions for an outer orbital railway, and said: “The new network swallows up the Gospel Oak to Barking line and the Bromley branchline; takes in large chunks of the North London Line, the Wimbledon-Sutton loop (currently part of Thameslink), the Kingston loop (currently South West Trains); and uses chunks of assorted other lines. It also means bringing the long forgotten Neasden spur back into passenger service."

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“Most ambitiously of all it implies several new tunnels – in Wimbledon, Bromley and, biggest by far, under the Thames from Barking down to Sidcup. You could run this latter section above ground - but only if you were willing to bulldoze large swathes of Kentish suburbia.

“The whole thing looks distinctly like London's answer to the Grand Paris Express plan, which will see four new orbital lines built over the next two decades or so. But the Infrastructure Plan stresses that this project is ‘not included in the costings’: even if the engineering challenge could he met, how much all this would cost remains to be seen. So, it may well never happen. But you can forgive the authorities for dreaming big once in a while."

A three-month consultation has now begun and a final report is due to be published in early 2015.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email


Lutz   01/08/2014 at 20:24

I would be concerbed if the direct links to Central London from stations on the Kingston Loop were to be lost in favour of the 'train-to-nowhere' Out Orbital Railway (R25? - not even at 25 miles from the center) pet-project.

Denis   02/08/2014 at 09:58

Why not just extend the southern end of the Bakerloo Line to Loughborough Junction and possibly just connect it straight into the southern end of the Victoria Line (less than 1/2 mile away) providing through-put for both lines at the southern end. Then build a decent interchange at Loughborough Junction between the North/South and East/West lines, giving passengers direct access to Victoria, Waterloo, Clapham Junction, Blackfriars, Willesden Junction, St Pancreas, Euston, Kings Cross, Paddingdon, etc, etc, etc, on existing lines. Then re-think South London services

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