Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Crossrail 2 Hijacked By Evening Boris

The Crossrail 2 scheme – more prosaically known as the Chelsea-Hackney Line – is all over the Evening Standard (aka London Daily Bozza) today. Readers are told that “Boris Johnson backs Crossrail 2 to slash journey times between north and south London”, which by the happiest of coincidences is in tune with the paper’s agenda of bringing good news, but only if it features Bozza.

Vote for me, chaps, and get yourself, you know ... cripes! Down percy!! Oo-er!!!

There is even a route diagram, showing clearly that the northern extent of the new line has two branches, one to Alexandra Palace and another reaching north of Cheshunt, with its southern termini including all of Twickenham, Shepperton, Hampton Court, Chessington South and Epsom. This is fascinating stuff. But the Standard is not being totally open and honest here.

Those who have been following the on-off saga of Crossrail 2 will know that the officially protected route does not provide for lines that go to any of the termini listed. Moreover, it does not have any more than one set of tunnels, and these are not intended to connect the end-points described in the Standard article. What is shown in the paper is a mere proposal by a business lobby group.

Beware shiny new diagrams from lobby groups

This is conceded in the fourth paragraph – but only after Matthew Beard kicks off his piece with “The route of a north-south Crossrail 2 through central London ... was unveiled today”. A rather more honest and upfront account was offered by the BBC, which told its own readers “Business leaders have revealed their proposed route for ... Crossrail 2”. So why the misinformation?

That, sadly, is down purely and simply to Bozza having backed the proposals of London First, with the report having been authored by former transport minister Andrew Adonis possibly contributing some credibility. The Standard fails totally to tell its readers that the existing Crossrail 2 proposal is simply a tunnel from Leytonstone to Parsons Green, running via central London.

Behold the real currently protected Crossrail 2 route

This would connect the Wimbledon branch of the District Line and the Epping branch of the Central Line. The new route would use full size trains, possible because the line between Leytonstone and Epping was part of the mainline network before being taken over by the Underground after World War 2. The rationale would be to relieve pressure on the Central and District Lines in central London.

But instead, the Standard has decided to back a lobby group whose proposals include – not that you can see it, as it’s off the map to the north – the idea of running Crossrail 2 out to Stansted Airport. And nobody has noticed that servicing all those southern termini could be a big ask at peak times – unless Crossrail 2 shares with Network Rail, and that could be bad for service reliability.

Still, it helps the London Daily Bozza cheer for the Mayor, so that’s all right, then.


Unknown said...

To be fair to London First, the report does show that they've been in contact with TfL throughout and TfL have previously said that the better option is what London First are how suggesting (p. 3 onwards).

Tubby Isaacs said...

Useful clarification, thanks.

On the other hand, cuts at TfL can't have helped them take it forward.

If they're reduced to saying "Wot they said!" it's not exactly a plus for Johnson.

If there were another mayor, it would have been "Business group tells Livingstone to get on with it"

Alex Macfie said...

As someone who lives near one of the proposed southern termini of this scheme, I would obviously be pleased if it did happen, although it may be too far into the future to be useful to me...
Serving these lines may be a "big ask", but surely not as big as, say, building an entire new high-speed rail line from London to Birmingham. Also Crossrail 1 is already going to be running partially on Network Rail track, sharing with existing National Rail services, west and east of London, and there are currently several sections of track where London Underground shares with National Rail, so that doesn't seem to be a major issue. It's naturally easier to run new services on existing track than build brand new track.
If there is enough support and political will, then it will happen, be it a new high-speed link or a cross-London suburban metro-type service.
And Boris will be retired by the time it's complete. I don't think this is for his benefit.

Tim Fenton said...

London Underground shares with NR? Apart from at the NW extreme of the Metropolitan Line, and the Overground between Queen's Park and Harrow & Wealdstone, that's that. Given that NR safety systems can't co-exist with the 3rd and 4th rail electrification and anything working over LU lines has to have tripcocks fitted, that's probably a good thing.

How Crossrail 1 pans out with running on NR tracks is something that hasn't been totally sorted yet, but in any event, it will potentially touch on reliability. The protected Crossrail 2 does not use NR at all. That's the difference between what has been protected and the London First scheme.

Ian The Train said...

LU and NR share Wimbledon To East Putney ( used by SWT for some driver route requirements and as a diversionary route ) .

Of course cross london travel ( like say Greenford to Beckenham Junc via West London Line is currently proposed for closure to passenger services on the megre Ealing Bdwy - Olympia- Wandsworth Road service rather than investing in some useful links.

SWT also needs more capacity into Waterloo , using Waterloo International , and new short track into Heathrow onto Heathrow Connect into Paddington for more quick wins for passengers.