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London network will ‘grind to a halt’ without Crossrail 2, warns Khan

With still a few months left to go until the first Crossrail trains hit the network, London mayor Sadiq Khan has today made the case for the project’s follow-up, Crossrail 2 – without which he claims at least 17 of the capital’s Underground stations will “buckle under crowding pressures”.

Based on TfL modelling released today, Khan laid out arguments that the capital’s transport network will “grind to a halt” under the strain of overcrowding unless the government backs plans for Crossrail 2.

His warnings come as government insiders have told press, such as the London Evening Standard, that Whitehall is “going cold” on the project, allegedly citing concerns that almost half of the £32bn price tag might be at risk. While Khan guaranteed London can fund half the cost, he made clear that the government must step up to finance the other half.

In his statement the mayor reinforced the importance of the planned project, claiming that thousands of passengers arriving at Euston on HS2 services could end up losing the time saved on their journeys as they are forced to queue to board onward trains.

Without the southwest-northeast connection, he added, pinch points at Waterloo and Victoria stations risk “rush hour meltdown”. While Tube improvements and indeed Crossrail will boost capacity in the coming years, they will not be enough to cope with the expected surge in demand.

Unprecedented crowding on the Tube by the early 2030s could even cause regular station closures and delays, the mayor explained, with “five or more people standing per square metre” on some lines.

Khan is expected to outline the problem in full at London Transport Museum’s annual fundraising dinner tonight, where he will make loud and clear that the capital will face “daily closures at key stations” and put HS2’s time savings to waste as a direct result of Euston delays.

“Crossrail 2 is crucial. It’s crucial to meeting our ambitious targets for new affordable homes. It’s crucial to unlocking future economic growth in the aftermath of the EU referendum. It’s crucial to ensure that Euston station keeps running smoothly when HS2 opens, and it’s crucial if we are to prevent Waterloo, Victoria and many other stations from rush hour meltdown,” he argued in a statement.

“Half the cost of the project can be met through funding from London, but we need the government to meet the other half if we are to avoid this unbearable strain on our transport network. Crossrail 2 is the answer to help the entire country, because when London succeeds, Britain succeeds.”

According to TfL’s modelling, Crossrail 2 could increase rail capacity in the capital by 10%, thus bringing an extra 270,000 people into central London each morning peak, slashing journey times and improving connections. It would also bring more than 800 stations on the national rail network “within just one interchange”, given that it would serve stations throughout the south east and link parts of London to Surrey and Hertfordshire.

TfL is now preparing a “robust updated business case” and funding plan that it intends to submit to transport secretary Chris Grayling, who is expected to make decisions on further government support in the spring. Should he accept the proposals, construction could start in the early 2020s, with the railway operational by 2033, as outlined by Lord Adonis early last year.

(Top image c. John Stillwell, PA Wire)


Lutz   08/02/2017 at 19:27

Ahh; Those that hold the purse strings are having to engage with the difficulties of funding all these "must-have" projects.

Jimbo   08/02/2017 at 20:22

Crossrail 2 will providing an additional 10% by 2033 would be good apart from one big issue. Rail usage is rising at 1% to 2% per annum, which if you work it out, means around 27% by 2033 - Crossrail 2 won't even cover half of the increase made durings its construction. So can you spend a similar amount of money (or less) on smaller projects to getting a better rate of return ? Also, I wonder whether people currently using the SWT branches that Crossrail 2 will take over realise that they will lose their trains to Waterloo, making their journeys more complex. The few people I have spoken thought that Crossrail 2 is a great idea, just so long as they don't lose their direct trains !!

Jimbo   08/02/2017 at 20:25

and also I find it odd that Sadiq Khan wants to take over surburban rail operations in London, including those covered by Crossrail 2 but they expects the government to help fund Crossrail 2. I wonder if the response will be "if London wants it, London can pay for it" !?!

Melvyn   08/02/2017 at 23:56

It's beginning to look like Railways could be the first casualty of the Brexit vote not directly because of the vote but the outcome when led to David Cameron resignation and the way Theresa May replaced George Osbourne as Chancellor who was one of the best Chancellors Rail has ever had with his " George the Builder " image as opposed to Philip Hammond who as Transport Secretary left a mess re rail franchises for Patrick McGlocklin to clean up. As for Crossrail 2 the upgrade of the West Anglia Broxbourne branch with 4 tracking needs to include removing any level crossings and step free access to all stations thus removing these costs from Crossrail 2 which is due to run onto this branch. While the construction of HS2 at Euston needs to include full upgrade of existing underground station and if it provides VFM then construction of a shell HS2 station in a similar way to how Thameslink Station was built as part of St Pancras Station upgrade . In addition the next South West Trains franchise needs to include upgrades to stations, tracks etc which will become part of Crossrail 2 . I remember reading that Sir Peter Hendy thought the idea of TfL funding half the cost was a fair deal when he was in charge of TfL.

Andy Essexboy   09/02/2017 at 03:09

To be fair I actually agree with Mr Khan about London will grind to a halt if Crossrail 2 doesn't happen. I'm with Sadiq Khan.

Simhedges   09/02/2017 at 07:21

Enough already. London has had tens of billions of pounds spend on infrastructure projects in the last 20 years. This encourages more people to work in London, so more infrastructure is needed, which then encourages more people into London, which then requires more infrastructure: it will never end. Instead of Crossrail 2, give a billion each to Bristol, Exeter, Cardiff, Leeds, Swindon, Southamption, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Liverpool, and other major UK cities. When the spend per capita on infrastructure outside London equates that inside London for a decade or two, *then* maybe think about Crossrail 2 (and HS2 phase 1 is almost all about London). Time to stop feeding the insatiable great wen.

Andy Essexboy   09/02/2017 at 20:19

@Simhedges Why be so aggressive. It seems that you don't like what Mr Khan is trying to improve London's transport. Just chill out ok.

Jimbo   10/02/2017 at 13:20

I think the issue here is not that upgrades are needed all over, but how are they paid for. If London (or Bristol, Exeter, Cardiff etc.) want to build new lines and can pay for them through fare increases, local taxes, development taxes etc., then fine, off you go. The problem is when the government is asked to fund these projects and everyone pays for them. When it is a strategic project such as HS2, then it is fair enough, but for local projects, then it is more difficult. London has the largest economy in the country by far, and so will get more investment than other places. Nevertheless, if an economy as big as London cannot fund its own transport system without government help, then something is wrong. Of course, it could be argued that the balance between national and local taxes is skewed too far towards national, meaning projects have to be funded centrally, but that is a different argument to have. If you keep going to the government and saying this project is critical, please give me some money, you are going to end up being disappointed.

Bois   14/02/2017 at 12:05

Given Khan cannot now afford the Croxley Link presumably he wants somebody else to entirely fund Crossrail 2?

Bois   14/02/2017 at 12:08

Given Khan cannot now afford the Croxley Link presumably he wants somebody else to entirely fund Crossrail 2?

John Grant   16/02/2017 at 17:17

If those outside London are to fund it maybe it should be more use to them. Now if you want to go from (say) Ipswich to Guildford it's 2 changes (Stratford and Waterloo), with Crossrail 2 it'll still be 2 changes. Can't it be made to offer through journeys more like Thameslink?

Gary   13/03/2017 at 09:46

If Khan had to choose between Crossrail 2 or HS2 I wonder which he'd prefer. Up north we are still waiting for this kind of investment instead of crumbs for so many years.

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