London First floats Crossrail 2 plans

Thu 7 February 2013, 8:02 pm

Business lobby group London First has launched a campaign for a second trans-capital route to complement the under-construction Crossrail project.

It claims the capital’s future prosperity will depend on the creation of extra rail capacity over the next 20 years and is calling for a new tunnel route linking Kingston in South West London with the Lee Valley in North East London, via Hackney, Islington and Tottenham.

London First’s Crossrail 2 taskforce, chaired by former Transport Secretary Lord Andrew Adonis, said the route - which would include a spur to Alexandra Palace - would take pressure of the capital’s busiest tube and mainline rail services, and could be constructed for “approximately £12 billion”.

The lobby group argued that if the necessary planning and consultation work for the project began now, the new line could be open by the early 2030s.

Lord Adonis said Crossrail 2 would be crucial to avoiding "unbearable” congestion on existing rail and tube lines by the late 2020s.

“Without Crossrail 2 by 2030, Euston and other tube stations at mainline termini will be so congested they might have to be closed for parts of each weekday because of the danger to passengers,” he said. 

“Waterloo, Victoria, Euston, Kings Cross, St Pancras and Clapham Junction all gain massive congestion relief from Crossrail 2, which is essential to keep London moving as its population rises by another 1.5 million over the next 20 years and the number of rail journeys into London termini increase dramatically.”

London First chief executive Jo Valentine said the capital’s future prosperity would be risked if the decades of indecision that delayed the start of the original Crossrail project were repeated with other schemes.

“Even with the major transport programmes that are already planned or underway, by the late 2020s most tube and train carriages will feel like sardine tins for much of the day,” she said.

“That’s bad for London, of course, but as the capital is the engine room of the UK economy, it would be damaging to the country as a whole.

“I hope that we will see the politicians – at Westminster, City Hall and our town halls – join the people and businesses of London to get behind this project and make it happen.”

London First’s Crossrail 2 report can be downloaded here.