There’s no money. The end.
OK, I exaggerated – but only a bit. If you dig a little into the various transport improvement schemes mooted for south London, there’s a lot of ‘reviewing of business cases’ going on. Expect those reviews to last until we know more about the shape of Brexit. What that will look like is anyone’s guess, but until then there’ll be a reluctance to commit funds to anything. Also watch out for what one website calls the ‘Manchester Evening News Problem’ – politicians and the public in the north feel London is favoured for infrastructure spending, so expect opposition to any major project here if their new rail project doesn’t get funded.
So let’s look at what’s been happening since we last wrote two years ago.
The Elephant – City Superhighway route was completed last year and we have also seen some progress on the Quietways programme, with the Waterloo – Greenwich route completed and being extensively used. But other Quietway routes have not progressed as quickly, as local councils appear very sensitive to any criticism from local residents and motorists,. Planned and partially complete are: Q4 Clapham Common-Wimbledon, Q5 Waterloo-Norbury, Q7 Elephant-Crystal Palace and Q14 Southwark-Canada Water. We also await the arrival of the Boris bikes, aka Santander Cycles, in Brixton, supposed to happen last year but with little sign of them yet.
Finally, light at the end of the tunnel. Literally in fact, as new tunnels at St Pancras will soon connect the Thameslink system into the East Coast line, offering direct travel to many more destinations direct from south London. Work at London Bridge nears completion and Cannon Street services are now stopping at London Bridge again. Shiny new trains and a new timetable from May should mean much improved services north-south across London. So much so that a row is brewing with TfL, who so far have refused to put the Thameslink route on their maps. Fears of a revenue downturn are rumoured.
Bakerloo Line Extension
Sorry Camberwell, it just wasn’t to be. The preferred route, published on the TfL website, shows plans for two new stations on the Old Kent Road: one by Tesco near the Dunton Rd junction, and another either at the St James Rd junction opposite B&Q, or at Asylum Rd on the Toys R Us site. Thereafter, the route, estimated to cost £3billion, continues to New Cross and ends at Lewisham, with possible future extensions further south (don’t hold your breath). The rationale for all of this is, of course the potential for new housing all along the Old Kent Road, which will need a new transport link if it’s to be viable.
Camberwell Station Re-Opening
Since SE5 lost out on the Bakerloo line there’s been a local campaign for Camberwell Station, closed in 1964, to be re-opened. As it’s on the Thameslink route it presents a major timetabling complication if it were to happen, although the costs are relatively low. If local people and politicians make enough noise, it could happen, especially if the Bakerloo extension does go ahead and the decision makers feel the need to placate Camberwellians.
In Part 2 we’ll review the latest on Crossrail 1 and 2, and also look at progress in river crossings in south-east London amongst other issues.