The commission, which has no power other than to have its opinion heard, says that funding should be made available at once to develop the scheme, with the aim of submitting a hybrid bill by autumn 2019 and getting it built by 2033.
Crossrail 2, once known as the Chelsea-Hackey line, would provide a new central London rail artery linking the suburban network in the southwest to lines in the northeast of the capital via a new tunnel from Wimbledon to Tottenham Hale. (See route map below.) It would cost £32bn to deliver but provide capacity for 270,000 more people to access central London during the morning peak.
In October 2015, the National Infrastructure Commission was asked to review the strategic case for additional large scale transport infrastructure in London, with particular reference to proposals for Crossrail 2. Its report, called Transport for a World City1, is published today.
The commission suggests that, in developing the business case for Crossrail 2, Transport for London and the Department for Transport should identify proposals to maximise its benefits and increase deliverability. It says that they should:
- identify proposals to phase costs and increase affordability – one option would be to delay the northwestern branch to New Southgate, which could reduce costs of the initial scheme in the 2020s by around £4bn.
- Deliver a funding plan in which London contributes its fair share to the project – more than half the total for the scheme.
- Develop a strategy to maximise private sector involvement in the development and funding of stations and their surrounding areas.
- Develop a strategy to ensure the construction of at least 200,000 homes along the route.
NIC chairman Lord Adonis said: “By the 2030s London will be a megacity of more than 10 million people. Even allowing for planned investment and the imminent arrival of the East-West Crossrail line, the capital will grind to a halt unless significant further improvements are made.
“That’s why London needs Crossrail 2 as quickly as possible. A new North-East to South-West line would help relieve severe overcrowding across some of the busiest Network Rail stations in the country, and the most congested Underground lines and overground commuter routes.
“The commission has identified four crucial ways in which the scheme can be developed to ensure that we maximise benefits and increase deliverability: phasing parts of the scheme, fair funding with London paying more than half the cost, private financing to help build stations and, crucially, a clear, transformative strategy to turn the proposed 200,000 new homes into a reality.
“There is no good reason to delay. Crossrail 2 will help keep London moving, create hundreds of thousands of homes and fire regeneration across the city form northeast to southwest. We should get on with it right away, and have the line open by 2033.”
1. Transport for a World City can be downloaded at www.gov.uk