Cross London schemes
I thought it would be useful to start by putting Crossrail 2 in context with a quick run down of other cross-London rail routes as it helps to set the scene for the scheme.
- Thameslink. We are already able to use this service which came into existence in 1988 after the old Snow Hill tunnel was reinstated to link Blackfriars with Farringdon and Holborn Viaduct station was sacrificed. The result was a through route which is currently used to link stations north of London on the St Pancras main line, such as Bedford and Luton, with stations on the main line to Brighton including East Croydon. It also has a south London loop which provides Wimbledon, Sutton and stations between with a service to the City and stations north. The service is currently being expanded to provide new trains and new destinations including Peterborough and Cambridge.
- West London line. I am old enough to remember the few trains a day that ran between Clapham Junction and Kensington Olympia in the 1970’s using a two coach diesel unit. Over the years this improved and has now grown into two frequent services. One provides a service from Clapham Junction to Milton Keynes and the other is now part of the Overground network and provides a long loop (not quite a circle) from Clapham Junction back to Clapham Junction via north London and Docklands. Some services give up on the loop part way around and provide a direct service to Stratford.
- Crossrail 1. This is the route currently being built, causing some very big holes in Central London and due to open in late 2018. It consists of new tunnels running west to east under Central London with trains making use of new and existing lines at each end. It links places including Reading and Heathrow Airport in the west with Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. Central London stops include Tottenham Court Road and Farringdon to service the West End and City respectively.
Crossrail 2 background
The population of London is expected to, in fact is planned to, continue growing and growing as the government and GLA press councils to build more houses across London and increase available office space, particularly in Central London.
The schemes already mentioned have been part of the plan to increase transport capacity in line with this proposed population and business growth but these schemes only help to cope with growth expected in the next 15 years so more capacity needs to be added to keep up with our need to travel after that.
Crossrail 2 is a suggested scheme to provide this next capacity boost and currently it is estimated it will be up and running by 2030.
Crossrail 3 has been mentioned in some places but I’m not aware of any official activity for it.
Crossrail 2 plan
The current thinking is to build a tunnel under Central London from Wimbledon in the south to Alexandra Palace in the north. It would also emerge before Tottenham Hale to join the Liverpool Street National Rail line towards Cheshunt.
The part of particular interest to us in Worcester Park is where the trains would go after they emerge from the tunnel in Wimbledon on their journey south. The current proposals show three branches with trains going to Twickenham via Kingston, Surbiton and Epsom.
Some or all of these routes may appear in the final plan and the station stops for these services are yet to be decided. Crucially the route maps showed a stop at Motspur Park on the branch from Wimbledon to Epsom but implied trains would sail through Worcester Park without stopping.
Crossrail 2 consultation
The initial Crossrail 2 consultation in 2013 was to gauge reaction to the scheme and Sutton Council submitted a proposal which supported a Worcester Park stop and highlighted other benefits to the borough.
A second Crossrail 2 consultation in 2014 considered the central, underground, section of the route. It is particularly important that this part of the route is decided so that its path can be protected from other building projects which might otherwise get in the way.
Crossrail 2 campaigning
The campaigning for a Worcester Park service seems to have started with Sutton Council’s response to the 2013 TfL consultation and the online survey at that time which was completed by the public, including me! The results were summarised in a report which came out later in 2013 and mentions Sutton Council.
Current activity includes a petition initiated by Paul Burstow, MP for Sutton and Cheam and councillors in the Worcester Park and Nonsuch wards which cover the Sutton Council portion of Worcester Park.
This week I also had the opportunity to join Paul Burstow MP and Nonsuch ward councillor Richard Broadbent in a meeting with Richard de Cani, TfL Director of Transport Strategy and Policy. It was useful to understand the project from TfL’s point of view and to confirm our efforts so far haven’t been wasted – a branch to Epsom WITH A STOP AT WORCESTER PARK is still possible. The project is still however in its early stages so we need to keep the pressure on!
Paul Burstow MP will be working with Sutton Council including Worcester Park and Nonsuch ward councillors to ensure they understand our case for Crossrail 2 but you can help by adding your name to the online petition.