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Crossrail extension to Ebbsfleet ‘not on the agenda’

Ebbsfleet international railway station 3to2

The proposed £1.5bn extension of Crossrail to Ebbsfleet is “not on the agenda”, Transport for London (TfL) commissioner Mike Brown has said.

Traction for the scheme had been growing after a raft of high profile business groups, councils and MPs as well as National Infrastructure Commission chair Sir John Armitt and High Speed 1 chief executive Dyan Crowther backed the scheme.

However, in at a London Assembly Budget and Performance Committee meeting, Brown said the extension was a “conversation to have at a later point” as the focus at present was on completing the Crossrail project.

“I think it’s fair to say that the entire focus of the team at the moment is on delivering the Crossrail project as is,” he said. “I think it’s a discussion to have at a later point, it’s not where anyone has been talking about, it’s not been part of the discussion or part of any meeting I’ve been in the last four to five months, so it’s just not on the agenda at this moment in time.”

Deputy mayor Heidi Alexander agreed saying although she had had meetings with backers Bexley council as recently as last week, completing Crossrail was the priority.

“Clearly, completing the section down from Abbey Wood to Paddington is the key overriding imperative at the moment,” she said. “Making sure we can run the services from Paddington to Reading is then the second priority and the third is then getting the whole line running from Shenfield to Reading and down to Abbey Wood.

“So there’s three steps that I see as coming before extending down to Ebbsfleet.”

She went on to say that there were many schemes across London which the mayor would like to deliver but required “significant” capital funding and these would all be looked at together to assess the comparative benefits.

“Whether it’s the Bakerloo extension or the extension of the DLR to Thamesmead, you would expect TfL to look at all of those sorts of extensions of the public transport network,” she said. “Then look at how those solutions address the transport challenges, the economic growth and the delivery of housing.”

Crossrail’s route was initially planned to go to Ebbsfleet but was eventually cut to Abbey Wood to reduce costs.

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