The lack of attention to his job shown by London’s occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has come to the fore yet again as the initiative on Crossrail 2 has been taken by those prepared to put in the effort, which means it has not involved him. So the proposed route being put out for consultation by Transport for London (TfL) is only distantly related to that previously protected.
Is anyone at City Hall taking charge here?
What was intended to be a linking up of the Epping branch of the Central Line with the Wimbledon branch of the District Line has morphed into something which will involve neither of these lines. With the advocacy of Andrew Adonis, and the acquiescence of Bozza, the core scheme is now a wholly underground line from Wimbledon via central London to Alexander Palace.
Crossrail 2 Metro Route - perhaps
Now, this does a few interesting and useful things: it relieves the Victoria Line between Victoria and St Pancras, plugs Clapham Junction and Dalston Junction into the Underground for the first time, interchanges with lots of other rail transport, and adds Ally Pally and Chelsea to the network. But it is the suggested “regional” add-on routes that are yet more interesting.
At the Wimbledon end, the idea is clearly to relieve the pressure on the main line terminus at Waterloo by having a number of suburban routes feed in to Crossrail 2. This, as far as it goes, is rational, but at the other end of the route, all that would result – without one or more intermediate turnback points, as with the District Line – would be a lot of not very full trains sent to Ally Pally to reverse.
The proposal will bring Crossrail 2 to Turnpike Lane
So there is a proposal for more “regional” add-ons at the northern end of Crossrail 2. But these seem less well thought out: there is just one regional route, out towards Cheshunt, with the hint that this may go further. It would not balance the regional services at the Wimbledon end. And it splits the Crossrail 2 route before getting to Dalston Junction, removing the interchange potential there.
The Regional add-ons: not all there as yet
And how far beyond Cheshunt is it intended that Crossrail 2 will go? If the answer has anything to do with Stansted Airport, I have news for Adonis and his disciples: that destination could easily be served from Crossrail 1 via Stratford, with the added benefit of linking Stansted to Heathrow, and doing it rather earlier than waiting for another Crossrail to come along.
In the meantime, those destined to struggle along with the Central and District lines instead of the original Crossrail 2 will have to hope that the first Crossrail will relieve the former, and that new trains and signalling improve matters on the latter. Thus the inevitable consequence of not doing what other European cities have already done – attempt to match the building of transport links to the demand for them.
And it’s sad to think the question is not when it will go ahead, but if.