diamond geezer

 Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Announced yesterday, there are plans to dig an express rail route called Crossrail 2 from the northeast of London to the southwest.

Three things.

Firstly, this isn't yet an official plan. It's been put forward by a business consortium, admittedly an influential one, but with no powers to force anything. They've noted that London's rail network is slowly choking as the population increases, and they want to do something about it before working here become uncompetitive. Nice idea, but it'll take TfL support and government funding to kickstart progress.

Secondly, this isn't an entirely new plan. A Chelsea-Hackney line has been on the drawing board for at least twenty years, but always playing second fiddle to its east-west counterpart. TfL have been active safeguarding the route, to ensure that nobody ever builds a building where new tracks might one day go. But these new plans take a subtly different northern alignment, targeting Haringey rather than taking over part of the Central line.

And thirdly, this isn't happening soon. "The early 2030s" are mentioned in the briefing document, that's 20 years hence. Go on, add 20 to your current age and see how old you might be before this is finished. Scary. Plus it won't be ready by then because these things always overrun. As recently as 2004 the plans for Crossrail 1 were that it'd be open by 2013 at the latest, but instead it'll be 2018, probably. Maybe best to add 25 to your age, to be on the safe side.

With all those caveats, what does the proposed route look like?
» ghastly clip-art-infested route map
» my very rough attempt at a geographical map

Cheshunt: This is where Crossrail 2 pierces Hertfordshire. The proposed destination is Hetford East, but the line could extend through Harlow to Stansted should anybody be thinking of expanding the airport there.
Tottenham Hale: That's no new stretch of railway, that's the existing line down the Lea Valley. These tracks are already overused, so a fair bit of remodelling will be required, but the additional capacity is much needed. [Victoria]
Hackney: Hackney's long been under-served by the tube, so any fast new connection here will be greatly welcomed. It's not stated precisely where this Hackney station would go, but Hackney Central-ish is the safeguarded site. [Overground]

Alexandra Palace: And back up to the northern end of the other Crossrail 2 branch. A most useful interchange, where First Capital Connect's services split to Welwyn Garden City and Hertford.
Turnpike Lane: The line now heads southeast, not southwest, to link with the Piccadilly line and relieve overcrowding underground. [Piccadilly]
Seven Sisters: And further still southeast, to link up with the Enfield Town line and the tube again. It's deliberately linktastic, this Crossrail 2 proposal. [Victoria]
Dalston Junction: This station would actually be a junction again if Crossrail 2 went ahead. And this is another direct and very deliberate hit on Hackney. [Overground]
Angel: Both northern branches would join/split here. And how the population of Islington would cheer to have a direct link to the West End, not just the City. [Northern]
Euston King's Cross St Pancras: Good grief, a triple-barrelled underground station. Crossrail trains are so long that there'd be an exit at one end for Euston and at the other end for KXSP. But these rail termini are just over half a mile apart, so moving walkways would be required to make this megastation practical. If High Speed 2 is coming to Euston, Crossrail 2 has to stop here to relieve congestion. [Circle] [H&C] [Met] [Northern] [Piccadilly] [Victoria] [Thameslink] [Overground]
Tottenham Court Road: They've been clever here. The TCR rebuild for Crossrail 1 has already been designed to be Crossrail 2 friendly, which saves digging up Central London twice. But this is the only planned station inside the Circle line, so it could get very busy. [Central] [Northern] [Crossrail 1]
Victoria: One major role of Crossrail 2 is to relieve the Victoria line, which is why this is the fourth time the two's paths have crossed. And this is urgently-needed extra capacity at one of London's busiest rail termini. [Victoria] [Circle] [District]
Chelsea King's Road: Here's a first. Every other station on the line already exists, but this one's brand new. Central Chelsea lacks a rail connection of any kind, so the appearance of Crossrail 2 would be transformative. Expect the station to appear close to Dovehouse Green, probably.
Clapham Junction: Unlike the stumpy Northern line extension to Battersea, Crossrail 2 should actually link up to Clapham Junction. Expect pressure from the power station developers to divert this new line there too. It'd better not. [Overground]
Tooting Broadway: Diverting to Tooting requires a tweak off the straight line route, but this interchange is crucial to relieve congestion on the lower end of the Northern line. Someone really has thought this through. [Northern]
Wimbledon: The end of the proposed tunnel brings Crossrail to Wimbledon, finally linking District and Northern. This is a major rail hub, so from here services might continue to Twickenham, Shepperton, Hampton Court, Chessington South and Epsom. Might do. But let's hope, eh? Assuming we're around long enough to see it. [District]

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