The mayor of London Sadiq Khan has warned the city’s transport infrastructure faces huge challenges in the coming years and will grind to a halt unless the government backs plans for a new cross-city rail line.
Research conducted by Transport for London (TfL) suggests that without the proposed Crossrail 2 line to ease the strain, at least 17 of the capital’s Underground stations will face severe overcrowding, especially once the new High Speed 2 (HS2) rail line comes into operation and brings more travellers into the capital from the north and Midlands.
Mr Khan said that without the new line to ease this burden, London can expect to see daily closures at key stations, as well as negating any time savings created by HS2, as incoming passengers will have to wait for longer at Euston before continuing their journey to elsewhere in the capital.
TfL’s study found once the first phase of HS2 opens in 2026, total traveller demand for Euston and Euston Square will nearly double, with an extra 20,000 passengers a day set to arrive during the three-hour morning peak period. Of these, around two-thirds will expect to travel onwards using the Underground network.
Although improvements to the Tube network and the opening of the Elizabeth line (Crossrail 1) will provide extra capacity in the coming years, these upgrades alone will not be enough to cope with the anticipated demand, the mayor’s office warned.
“Crossrail 2 is crucial,” Mr Khan stated. “It’s crucial to ensure that Euston station keeps running smoothly when HS2 opens, and it’s crucial if we are to prevent Waterloo, Victoria and many other stations from rush hour meltdown.”
The proposed Crossrail 2 line would travel from the south-west to the north-east of London, and increase the city’s overall rail capacity by ten per cent, bringing an extra 270,000 people into the city every day.
Mr Khan said that London authorities can meet half of the estimated cost of Crossrail 2, but funding for the remainder will have to come from central government in order to avoid the “unbearable strain on our transport network”.
TfL is preparing to submit an updated business case and funding plan for the proposed project to transport secretary Chris Grayling, who is expected to make a decision on further government support in the Spring. If approved, construction work could start in the early 2020s, with the railway becoming operational by 2033.