It's nice to have a Mayor who's an optimist, and Ken Livingstone most certainly is. Earlier this week he slipped out a new map of London showing how the tube network might look by 2016. You can download the whole map here, assuming you can cope with pdfs, or view some choice segments elsewhere courtesy of Geoff and Annie. Is there a word for a London tube map o-holic? If so, I confess to being one. <hit> <hit> <hit> <hit>
Only three extra Underground sections are planned - the EastLondon Line, a tunnel out to Heathrow Terminal 5 and the tiny Croxleylink (which you probably don't care about, but I do because this particular link has been on the drawing board for the last 30 years in the village where I grew up). The 2016 map also features various potential tramway projects, Crossrail, Thameslink and a few DLR extensions, further details of all of which you can find on the brilliant alwaystouchout website. I suspect only a fraction of the new lines shown on the map will actually get built because they require those two most rare of commodities - money and commitment - but we can dream.
Here's how Stratford station in east London might look one day, an overdeveloped mass of lines and interlocking circles. There's the Central line and the end of the Jubilee line, there's mainline services to East Anglia, there's the North London Line northwest towards Hackney, there's the existing DLR and a new DLR extension to Stratford International, there's the new Eurostar terminal and finally there's Crossrail. Blimey. Too late for the Olympics though, alas (and probably almost as likely to actually happen).
Meanwhile here are some additional new lines Ken appears to have missed off his 2016 map: Grand Prix Circle Line: A guided trackway capable of transporting individual helmeted passengers round the West End and back to their starting point 75 times, and a bargain at only £10 million per ticket.
Northern Line extension: Now that London's economic hinterland reaches as far as Grimsby, so does the tube network. Bloody long way to commute though.
Very Cross Rail: "Why has this train stopped in the middle of a tunnel, and it's far too overcrowded, and have you seen the price of a ticket, and that bloke's not wearing any deodorant."
Central Iraq Line: The quickest and most convenient way to transport British troops to the Middle East. "This train terminates at Baghdad Parkway."
East London Line extension: 500 yards of new track branching off from Walford East calling at Launderette, Allotment Central and Arthur's Bench.
Docklands Heavy Railway: A special commuter link with extra-wide seats for obese Canary Wharf workers.
Lovely Jubbly Line: "You want Peckham do you? Sorry mate, we don't go south of the river."
A brand spanking new underground network full of air-conditioned trains that travel on time: By 2016, even with PPP funding? Fat chance.