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TfL repeats demand for Crossrail 2 construction

Transport for London (TfL) has repeated its call for Crossrail 2 to be built as a way of relieving congestion on existing Tube lines.

Speaking at NCE’s London Rail Conference 2013 this week, TfL managing director, planning Michèle Dix said a new line from the south west to north east London was essential because of the forecast growth in passenger numbers in the capital over the next 20 years and to relieve congestion on London Underground’s Piccadilly, Victoria and Northern lines.

TfL is consulting the public on two options for the new “metro” line, between Wimbledon in the south and Alexandra Palace in the north; and a more complex regional option using the same route, but linked into commuter lines north and south of the capital. The cost of the metro line has been estimated at between £9.4bn and £15.7bn, compared with £12bn to £19.7bn for the regional line.

Michele Dix

Dix: Crossrail 2 is essential to effort to meet growing public transport demand

Dix said the wider economic benefits of the two schemes give a benefit: cost ratio of 3.5:1 for the metro and 4.1:1 for the regional option.

But she acknowledges that TfL will have to find “innovative” ways to fund the scheme, whichever option is chosen. “The more innovative we can be in terms of funding schemes, the more likely we are to deliver,” she told the conference.

Options include the different funding models used for the current Crossrail project and the forthcoming Northern line extension.

Crossrail is being funded by a mix of government grants, fares and private developers, while the bulk of the Northern line extension will be paid for by developers and local businesses either directly or indirectly.

“On Crossrail 2 we will have to think harder,” said Dix. “It is going to cost many more billions [than the Northern line extension], and it is going through areas where the interest for developers is not so great as it is in central London.

“The Crossrail 1 model was enhanced by development sites that were attractive for developers, but we may have to look at working with other bodies, for example Network Rail, to look at opportunities to take over sites ourselves that have development potential,” she added.

Dix also explained the importance of a link between Crossrail 2 and the proposed High Speed 2 (HS2) terminus at Euston. “We need passive provision for Crossrail 2 at Euston as part of HS2, and our preferred solution is a station with two ends so that it serves Kings Cross St Pancras as well,” she said.

“Crossrail 2 stacks up on its own without HS2; it is needed regardless of HS2. But HS2 gives rise to a problem at Euston, and Crossrail 2 is the solution to that problem.”

London mayor Boris Johnson has given his support to HS2 subject to various conditions, one of which is that the scheme provides adequate means for HS2 passengers to disperse at Euston without overloading the Tube network. TfL believes Crossrail 2 will answer this demand.

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