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.