Crossrail 2: Planning for our future

Source: RTM Oct/Nov 17

The time is ripe to press ahead with ambitious plans to build Crossrail 2 in order to alleviate congestion, support economic prosperity and unlock regional development, argues Michèle Dix, the project’s managing director at TfL.

If you are one of thousands who travel into Waterloo station each day, you’ll be no stranger to crowding. On a typical weekday, a third of passengers spend their morning commute standing – often for up to an hour – from as far away as Winchester. And on the Tube, if you’re a regular commuter you’ll be used to travelling tightly with other passengers – on average, there are over five passengers per square metre.

Despite the improvements being made to the Tube and rail networks, crowding is set to get worse by the 2030s. London, the south east and east of England are the fastest-growing areas in the UK, and our rising population is placing extreme pressure on our already overcrowded railways. Many nationally important London stations will face regular closures, including Liverpool Street, Victoria, Euston and King’s Cross. A 65% rise in demand is predicted for the South West Main Line, which is already the most crowded service in the country. Without intervention, we face unprecedented crowding by the 2030s. Now is the critical time to plan for our future.

Crossrail 2 aims to address those problems – and more – across the wider south east. It is a regional scheme with national importance. It would link National Rail networks in Surrey and Hertfordshire via twin underground tunnels through London, dramatically improving connectivity across the 160-mile corridor between Portsmouth and Cambridge.

By providing for an additional 270,000 people to be able to travel into central London every morning peak, it would increase accessibility while cutting crowding on the Tube and rail network by 20–30%. It will relieve many overcrowded Victorian-era stations such as Clapham Junction.

More than just a transport scheme

However, Crossrail 2 is much more than just a transport scheme. Across the country, we see that transport investment is the key ingredient in unlocking development – and we need it in every region. Working with our transport colleagues across the regions we share knowledge, best practice and policy. Investment in transport is not a zero-sum game.  

Complementary to other schemes across the country, Crossrail 2 will deliver a £150bn boost to the UK economy. It will support the creation of 200,000 new homes in London and the wider south east, which have a severe housing shortage, opening up new areas to development, particularly along the Upper Lea Valley.

In total, 30% of the new housing opportunities will be outside London. The railway will also support around 200,000 new jobs, as well as creating 60,000 during construction in our nationwide supply chain, and thousands of apprenticeships across the country. 

The UK has always been a world leader in building transformational infrastructure. With the building of Crossrail 1, which will open to the public as the Elizabeth Line next year, we will have demonstrated our ability to deliver vital large-scale infrastructure schemes.

We need to build on this legacy and ensure our future transport plans are in place to keep both London and the UK growing and prospering. This can be delivered alongside the planning and delivery of schemes across the country, including the Northern Powerhouse, that are needed to build a successful post-Brexit economy.

Crossrail 2 presents a unique set of challenges which we are meeting head-on. In particular, we are working closely with government to make the scheme more affordable. We have submitted a detailed business case to the secretary of state which provides a strong strategic, financial and economic case for the project. More recently, we have been updating our work to show how London could pay for half of the costs during construction. But in order for trains to be running by the early 2030s, when pressure on our rail network will be at its greatest, and the need for more housing even greater, we need to move ahead with the scheme.

We need to consult the public on our latest proposals, incorporate resulting changes into the design following earlier consultation and review, and then prepare to submit a Hybrid Bill in 2020 in order to start construction in the early 2020s. We need a positive decision to proceed this autumn.




Simhedges   27/10/2017 at 08:18

£30bn. Just think if we gave £3bn to 10 cities across the UK to improve their transport infrastructure. London, the great wen, will continue to suck in money, resources, people, jobs for as long as we continue to feed it: we need to rebalance the economy of England and Wales away from London by improving transport links else (and devolving power to an English Parliament based in Manchester) rather than continuing to feed the beast. Smaller cheaper transport improvements may be justifiable in London (e.g. better connectivity from Euston to the Elizabeth Line) but not this expensive wasteful behemoth.

Michael King   29/10/2017 at 16:53

That’s the either or fallacy. Do both Cr2 and more large investments and hundreds , may thousands smaller ones too. And Rinway 3 .

Andrew Gwilt   30/10/2017 at 19:56

Crossrail 2 will still get the go ahead. Even when Crossrail 1 is completed. Then Crossrail 2 will soon get started and to be completed in 2025-2026.

Fizi247   31/10/2017 at 01:52

I partly agree with Simhedges comments, however in order to tackle this problem long term, we need to connect all the major cities across the UK a lot closer. Therefore, HS2 will be required to filter any future growth/congestion within crossrail 2 and crossrail 3!

Officer Crabtree   01/11/2017 at 04:46

Good moaning. I would like to spook up here for Gotwick instead of Rinway 3.

Beyondoil   12/11/2017 at 20:45

Simhedges, Cross rail 2 is required to raise half the funding from business. Any city in uk that can try and do the same and obtain match funding - good luck with that! This is not a gift to London from HMG.

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