Start Crossrail 2 now says Adonis

Crossrail 2 (CR2) needs to be brought forward as a priority says Lord Adonis, interim chair of the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC). Adonis has called for a hybrid bill to be presented to Parliament by autumn 2019 and for the new line to be completed in 2033. (This would also coincide with the completion of HS2 phase 2).

His call follows months of research and consultations with a wide range of stakeholders, including the GLA, the DfT, TfL, Network Rail and The Treasury: “The Commission concludes that the strategic case for Crossrail 2 is well founded and recommends that it is taken forward. It is not a substitute for smaller scale improvements, but these alone will not be enough.

“Crossrail 2 should be viewed as an investment of national significance, because of its impact beyond Greater London and its importance of relieving nationally important rail termini and interchange stations, especially Waterloo, Clapham Junction, Victoria, Euston, Kings Cross and St Pancras.”

Adonis says that London’s population is projected to increase by 1.4 million and will reach 10 million in 2030. Ongoing enhancement schemes – Crossrail 1, Thameslink, plus investment in London Underground and the Overground – will add 30% to existing rail capacity but this will not suffice to cope with future traffic growth.

London’s railways will face four specific challenges by the late 2020s: crowding on key Underground lines; lack of capacity on major routes at major terminals; insufficient orbital links (especially in east London); and the need for (rail) transport to promote housing growth in and around the capital.

By 2031 passenger kilometres will be 50% above current levels. By 2041 the number of passenger kilometres travelled in severely crowded conditions – defined as more than four passengers per square metre – will have doubled.

Crossrail 1 and the Thameslink upgrade will not provide much relief for the Victoria and Piccadilly lines in central and north-east London, or the District and Northern lines in south-west London.

Even by the end of CP5 in 2019 all fast lines into Waterloo will have been taken up. By 2043 the current capacity of 24 trains per hour (tph) will have to be increased to 37 tph; without CR2 to divert the slower trains on to, overcrowding at Waterloo station might necessitate its large scale reconstruction.

The south-west to north-east Crossrail 2 scheme is estimated to cost £32.6bn (at 2014 prices) and London will be expected to foot half the bill. The line will run in a 24 mile tunnel between Wimbledon in the south and Tottenham Hale in the north. Adonis suggests that there is a good case for delaying the north-west New Southgate spur (to save £4bn) and consider an eastern branch alternative to Hackney instead. CR2 would accommodate 30 tph and increase rail capacity in the central London area by 10%.


CR2 would have wider benefits and is expected to facilitate the development of 200,000 new homes.

The government requires that London would make a ‘significant contribution’ towards funding the project. The TfL model used in the report outlines a 56.5% contribution, the breakdown being: business supplement rate (borrowing from 2033 to 2065) 20.3%; mayoral CIL (community infrastructure levy) 16.9%; Crossrail operating surplus (from growth in passenger revenue) 11.6%; resale of land & property (6.3%);  and council tax precept (from 2017/18) 1.4%.

Once operational, however, CR2 would abstract 12.9% revenue from DfT franchised services reducing the net London contribution to 43.6%. A central government grant would fund the rest of the construction costs.


DfT: Transport for a World City (& supporting documents)



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