Delivery of Crossrail 2 must be a priority and taken forward without delay, according to a new report from the National Infrastructure Commission.
The report, titled Transport for a world city, recommends immediate development of the scheme with the aim of submitting a hybrid bill by autumn 2019, and the line opening in 2033.
Speaking at the London Infrastructure Summit, chair of the commission Lord Adonis said: “We must not repeat the mistake of Crossrail 1 by delaying construction for 35 years, by which time London would have ground to a halt.”
With an estimated cost of £33bn to deliver Crossrail 2, Adonis acknowledged that the project will be “very expensive” and that it was “essential to keep the costs down”. He added: “One of the report’s recommendations involves phasing costs for parts of the scheme as well as maximising private sector contributions, particularly for the delivery of stations.”
Adonis also outlined the importance of taxpayer contributions to the scheme: “At least half of the cost should be from London taxpayers and businesses. The scheme will have big benefits for Londoners which is why they should contribute to the scheme as they have with Crossrail 1.”
The report in brief
Part 1: Preparing for the 2030s
The commission has identified four specific challenges from the late 2020s: crowding on key Underground lines, lack of capacity on commuter service rail routes and at major Network Rail stations, insufficient orbital links, particularly in east London, and the need for transport to promote significant housing growth within and around the capital.
Congestion is forecast to be especially acute on north-south Underground lines, commuter rail services in the south-west, and at major Network Rail stations on these routes.
Part 2: Developing the plan
Faced with these challenges, a second Crossrail line, running south-west to north-east, is a priority for London and its region.
Crossrail 2 will provide a new central London artery linking the suburban railway network in the south-west to lines in the north-east via a new tunnel from Wimbledon to Tottenham Hale. This relieves or reinforces major suburban and Underground lines and a string of Network Rail’s busiest stations, whilst opening up new areas for housing and regeneration.
Part 3: From development to delivery
Considerable work has been done to develop the case for Crossrail 2. This report recommends four steps to develop the scheme further:
- Identify proposals to phase costs and increase affordability
- Develop a strategy to unlock significant housing growth
- Deliver a funding plan in which London contributes its fair share to the project
- Maximise private sector involvement in the development and funding of stations and their surrounding areas.
Commenting on the report, Suzanne Moroney, Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) London director said: “We welcome the commission’s conclusion that Crossrail 2 will help to deliver the much improved capacity and connectivity the capital will need, generate thousands of new homes and should be a priority. The commission is also right to recommend that funds to enable the rail link are released now. If we are to tackle the future challenges of population growth and climate change, and retain London’s position as a leading global city, we must plan and mobilise the finance and skills for key infrastructure projects like this now.
“It is the commission’s role to identify our long-term infrastructure needs, and recommend how they can best be met. Its recommendation for the capital has been set out, and we now await a positive response from the Chancellor, so the business case revision can progress swiftly and the hybrid bill is submitted in Parliament as soon as possible.”
David Leam, infrastructure director at London First, also called for government to act on the report’s recommendations: “Now we need the Chancellor to extend his support beyond warm words and actually write a cheque to develop the scheme further.
“The business world was a major contributor to the original Crossrail and accepts the need to contribute similarly to help Crossrail 2 get the green light.”