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Travel watchdog urges government to ‘fast track’ Crossrail 2 plans

An influential travel watchdog has strongly urged the government to press on with plans for Crossrail 2 and not shelve the project which it describes as “vital”.

In a statement from London TravelWatch, it was revealed that the organisation has written to Chris Grayling highlighting the importance of Crossrail 2 to London’s travel infrastructure.

The letter was penned after the Queen’s Speech confirmed the government’s commitment to bringing forward the phase 2a HS2 hybrid bill, but made no reference to Crossrail 2 or HS3.

London Travelwatch argues that overcrowding at many of London’s busiest rail stations, particularly Waterloo, Clapham Junction and Wimbledon, will continue to worsen if Crossrail 2 does not go ahead.

It also made the point that Crossrail 2 would free up existing capacity for long-distance services on the South West Mainline to Southampton, Exeter, Salisbury, Bournemouth and Portsmouth.

Airport travel would also be improved by better rail infrastructure, which is also an aim of Crossrail, which ran into difficulty with Heathrow last month over whether TfL should pay track access charges to run Elizabeth Line trains to and from the airport.

Finally, the organisation said that Crossrail 2 would be crucially important for linking passengers to the HS2 terminal at London Euston.

“A major challenge for the capital over the next 20 to 30 years will continue to be meeting the needs of a rapidly growing city,” said Stephen Locke, chair of London TravelWatch. “Passengers in and around London will shortly benefit from reduced journey times, better connectivity and less overcrowded journeys when Crossrail Elizabeth Line services start running.

“But we urge the new government to fast track plans for Crossrail 2 to relieve overcrowding on other routes and ensure that public transport capacity keeps pace with growth.”

Locke stated that Crossrail 2 would serve areas of London that are currently very poorly connected and benefit people travelling to and from outside London.

“On top of this, the project is pretty much shovel ready. It is essential that Crossrail 2 features in the government’s legislative and funding programmes,” he concluded.

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Noam Bleicher   27/06/2017 at 11:13

I'm afraid HS3 is more important than this. Any development of Crossrail 2 needs to take place in parallel with HS3 if not a little behind. I say this as a Londoner who views Paris' developement of RER and Grand Paris Express with envy.

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