diamond geezer

 Tuesday, June 10, 2014

It's time for the second consultation about the route of Crossrail 2.
This means the new rail link might be maybe almost 15 years away.
It also means that there are decisions to be made.

The decisions are about two things - connectivity and saving money.
Connectivity is important because Crossrail 2 is planned to ease congestion.
And saving money is important because we only dream within budget nowadays.

One of the possible tweaks to the originally-proposed route is in Chelsea.
The line might not stop on the King's Road at the site safeguarded for decades.
It might instead stop further west, more in line with Battersea Bridge than Albert Bridge.
Chelsea West would be nearer the centre of the rail desert Crossrail 2 was meant to ease.
It would also be nearer to "new developments", a phrase which always makes me nervous.

Or Crossrail 2 might not stop in Chelsea at all.
Who cares that locals have some of the worst access to rail transport in Zone 1?
Who cares that there are already non-stop trains from Clapham Junction to Victoria?
Bypassing Chelsea would speed up journeys for commuters from Tooting, Wimbledon and beyond.
It would also save in the order of £1bn by ironing out a big kink in the route.

But the most complicated new "what if" is to the northeast of town.
Previously it was suggested that the new line would split just beyond Angel.
Previously it was suggested that one branch would go to Dalston and the other to Hackney.
But the new suggestion is that maybe instead the new line should split later.
And then only one of Dalston Junction or Hackney Central would be connected, not both.

This map may or may not make things clear.
I fear not.

So the original plan was
→ Angel → Dalston Junction → Seven Sisters →
→ Angel → Hackney Central → Tottenham Hale →

This would have connected up to all sorts of tube and railway lines in all sorts of directions.

But we might instead get
→ Angel → Dalston Junction → Seven Sisters →
→ Angel → Dalston Junction → Tottenham Hale →

This would mean no direct link from Hackney to the West End.
It would also mean no connection between Crossrail 2 and the east/west Overground.

Or we might get
→ Angel → Hackney Central → Seven Sisters →
→ Angel → Hackney Central → Tottenham Hale →

This would mean no direct link from Dalston to the West End.
It would also mean no connection between Crossrail 2 and the north/south Overground.

Both of these would save another £1bn compared to the original plans.
It's either a better use of available resources, or a failure to think big enough.

Meanwhile, deep in the consultation smallprint are two more sub-options (subject to feasibility).

The first of these adds an extra station to the Dalston-only option
→ Angel → Dalston JunctionStoke Newington → Seven Sisters →
→ Angel → Dalston JunctionStoke Newington → Tottenham Hale →

That'd transform connectivity and house prices in north Hackney.

And the second adds an extra station to the Hackney-only option
→ Angel → Hackney CentralClapton → Seven Sisters →
→ Angel → Hackney CentralClapton → Tottenham Hale →

That'd transform northeast Hackney, and be a useful connection to the Chingford line.

One of the five options above will get chosen, according to logistics and available budget.
Some parts of Hackney will hit the jackpot, and others will lose out to their neighbours.
Which makes this consultation really quite important in the grand scheme of things.

Or else Crossrail 2 will sit on the drawing board, as it has done for decades, until after you're dead.
Let's hope not, eh?

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