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Projects axed to make way for Crossrail

Flagship public transport projects were this week set to drop out of Transport for London’s capital programme under a redrawing of its business plan for the next 10 years.

A Transport for London (TfL) board meeting is next week expected to sign off a business plan, negotiated with the Department for Transport, under which projects will be dropped in favour of work on Crossrail and the London Underground upgrade.

Projects expected to be formally dropped include:

  • Docklands Light Railway extension from Gallion’s Reach to Dagenham Docks that was due to start in 2013

  • Cross River Tram from Peckham to Camden Town

  • Two guided busway projects

  • Greenwich Waterfront Transit

  • East London Transit

  • Croydon Tramlink extensions.

"TfL will be dropping some projects that haven’t got a realistic chance of being funded," said a source close to TfL. "It realises it has got to be realistic about what it can achieve and concentrate on main priorities such as Crossrail and Tube modernisation."

The new business plan may not be all bad news and there is speculation that some projects may be accelerated. These could include phase 2 of the East London Line Extension from Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction. Tube station upgrades that were previously suspended when Tube contractor Metronet went into administration could also be brought forward under the new funding plan.

Transport experts were unsurprised by the prospect of projects being dropped. Transport economist and former TfL board member Professor Stephen Glaister said: "There were a number of schemes that Ken Livingstone put on his wish list that had very little chance of being funded. The cost of the Cross River Tram, for example, was estimated at £1.3bn and it would have been pretty hard to fi nd that kind of money."

A spokesman for TfL confi rmed this week that the draft business plan would be discussed at next week’s meeting but would not necessarily be approved. "The business plan is due for consideration at our board meeting next week and once approved we will publish it." London Mayor Boris Johnson is also expected to publish his own transport strategy document for London known as "Direction of Travel".

There is speculation that the document will include confirmation that see the western extension of the congestion charge will be retained. Johnson is also expected to confirm that the Thames Gateway Bridge from Beckton to Thamesmead has been scrapped. The bridge has been under development for the last few years but there has been fierce opposition from local people and environmental groups. Johnson is expected to bring forward a new river crossing project at another location.

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