In Part 1 we reviewed the current state of play of Thameslink, the Bakerloo extension and cycle routes. In the second part of our review of transport developments in south London, we look at the prospects for Crossrail 2 and river crossings in south-east London amongst other projects.
Northern Line Extension
Build enough housing and you’ll get a tube! The huge Vauxhall and Nine Elms – Battersea project needed new connectivity to be a success, so the Northern Line will extend from Kennington to two new stations at Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station. Tunnelling is complete and the project is on track to be ready in 2020.
Crossrail 1 – The Elizabeth Line
As you’ve no doubt seen on news reports, this project is due to open later this year in December. A corner of south-east London will benefit massively – look at these journey times from Woolwich: Canary Wharf 8 mins, Liverpool St 14 mins, Bond St 22 mins, Heathrow 48 mins. Times to Abbey Wood are 3 minutes longer. By the way, if you’re travelling far, Reading for example, go to the loo before you get on-board as there are no toilets on the trains.
So at the local level, the preferred route seems to be via Balham and not Tooting because sub-surface ground conditions are better there. This has one upside for Tooting – the shaft boring threat to the market is avoided. For those living in Streatham who were hoping to get on the route, Balham station is a lot easier to get to than Tooting Broadway; one stop from Streatham Hill for a quick change to the new route. Will it ever be built? At £30billion it’s easily the most expensive project in the offing and will get serious opposition from northern MPs if it impinges on their plans for an HS3 from Liverpool to Hull via Manchester and Leeds. I still think CR2 will happen because of the housing that’s tied in with it and the need to keep the London economy ticking over.
East London River Crossings
Three have been approved by the mayor: The Silvertown road tunnel from North Greenwich to Silvertown, the pedestrian/cycle bridge from Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf and the DLR extension from Gallions Reach to Thamesmead. The road tunnel has a lot of opposition from the environmental lobby so expect delays on this, especially as it was to be financed by a Private Finance Initiative (PFI), now out of favour after the Carillion collapse. However, it looks like the pedestrian/cycle bridge may go ahead – it has a lot of support and is relatively cheap to build. On the Thamesmead link it’s all gone very quiet; when it comes to transport this place seems to get overlooked, yet it’s home to a sizeable population and SE28 is the only south London postcode, apart from Walworth SE17, without some kind of rail link.
London Overground Expansion
In our last review in November 2015 it looked likely that TfL would be taking over more rail routes from Southern and South-Eastern and South West Trains as their contracts came up for renewal. Well that was before Tory MPs in Kent and Surrey got together to block that plan. Their concern was that any expansion of services on London routes would be at the expense of longer distance trains from further afield. Also there was the slight political problem of a Conservative-led government handing over rail routes to a Labour mayor. So if you were hoping for some improvement on Southern etc the news is negative I’m afraid.
In summary, we’re seeing some projects being delivered, such as Thameslink, the Elizabeth Line and the Northern Line extension. Meanwhile time (and money) will tell if other plans, such as the Bakerloo Line extension, Crossrail 2 and new river crossings, ever get off the drawing board. A good website to follow for London Transport matters is London Reconnections – written by professionals in the know.