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Crossrail 2 ‘cannot go ahead’ without four-tracking of West Anglia line

MPs for constituencies along the West Anglia line called for the route to be four-tracked in order to accommodate new rolling stock and Crossrail 2 at a Westminster Hall debate yesterday.

Sir Alan Haselhurst, the Conservative MP for Saffron Walden, chaired the West Anglia Taskforce, which investigated how to improve rail services in the area.

“The way Crossrail 2 is conceived at the moment, it cannot go ahead unless there is four-tracking along the West Anglia line,” he said.

Sir Alan noted that the taskforce had been “as one” on the need to four-track the railway between Coppermill junction, south of Tottenham Hale station, to Broxbourne junction, north of Broxbourne mainline station.

There is currently two-track railway from Tottenham Hale through Clapton station and other inner London stations to Bethnal Green. Sir Alan said services to these stations “frequently” held up other trains.

The conservative MP added that the region did not have “the luxury of an easy alternative” to four-tracking and the “growing pressures” on the West Anglia route could not be met on a two-track line.

The West Anglia Taskforce’s report, published last week, called for services to Cambridge in 60 minutes and Stansted in 40 minutes; more frequent service levels; a new timetable by 2020 to take advantage of new, faster and longer trains; and progress for Crossrail 2.

Sir Alan also said that the government should “join the dots” on Abellio Greater Anglia’s promise to replace rolling stock in the Greater Anglia franchise by providing the infrastructure to accommodate the new trains.

The proposals received cross-party backing. Joan Ryan, the Labour MP for Enfield North, added: “The concern among my constituents is that their service is already poor, so the four-tracking is definitely needed, but they will lose out further if the four-tracking does not happen because Stansted and the further services will be the priority, and the service on the locally stopping trains will become even poorer than it currently is.”

Rail services around London are struggling to cope with growing passenger demand. A survey from consumer organisation Which? found that Southeastern and Thameslink were rated as the worst train companies by passengers.

Sir Alan explained that he had received promises from local authorities and local enterprise partnerships to contribute financially in order to bring forward the four-tracking “as early as possible”.

Paul Maynard, the rail minister, said the DfT would give the taskforce report a “thorough and careful assessment” and respond formally to it next year.

However, he added that the proposals needed to be assessed against “the case for investment across the network as a whole”.

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Andrew Gwilt   10/11/2016 at 21:28

Which means stations on the WAML between Hertford East-Broxbourne and Broxbourne-Tottenham Hale will become part of the Crossrail 2 network as TfL took over the Lea Valley lines (Liverpool Street-Cheshunt, Enfield Town & Chingford and Romford-Upminster (London Overground) and Liverpool Street-Shenfield (TfL Rail/Elizabeth Line)) last year. With Angel Road to be moved to a new site and to be renamed as Meridian Waters if the new station gets the go ahead and Angel Road station to close after the completion of the new Meridian Waters station in the London Borough or Enfield.

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