Londoners! Let joy be unconfined, as his royal mayorness has confirmed his support for building Crossrail 2. Boris Johnson has asked the government to safeguard a route for what he, for some reason, wants to call the “Churchill Line”.
Specifically, mayor Boris Johnson is backing the “regional route”, that’ll travel a longer distance, and connect various commuter lines that currently run into Liverpool Street and Waterloo. Here’s a map:
In both north and south, the line goes out of its way to create new radial links between existing lines. Which would look nice on the map.
What will look less nice is the combined Euston St Pancras station. This will connect to both High Speed 1 (to the continent) and High Speed 2 (to Birmingham and points north). But it also links two existing tube stations, which serve three main line terminals between them and are connected by two existing lines. It’s going to be bloody horrible on the tube map. Honestly, it’d make Châtelet–Les Halles in Paris look like a rural halt.
What’s more, Euston and St Pancras are a good half a mile apart: even with very long platforms, it might require some kind of travelator. The station might have to sit under the British Library’s vaults, too.
Finally a Chelsea tube station! No station at Piccadilly Circus though. Boo.
In the south, the line will take on some of the suburban commuter services into Waterloo, freeing up paths on the main line. Which services it’ll take, however, is not yet clear: it seems unlikely it’ll include five different branches.
It’s not entirely clear where the “proposed eastern branch” would go, either. The strain of Crossrail 2 that was prevalent back in the 90s tended to involve swallowing part of the Central line, so perhaps that’d be an option, though it might require some extra tracks through Leytonstone.
In the north the choice is rather more settled: the line to Cheshunt is the only bit of the Lea Valley lines which won’t be transferring to London Overground from next year. It’s also an area that’s likely to see a lot more housing developed over the next few years, so is an obvious target for a new rail link.
Crossrail 2 has been on the table in some form since the 1970s, when it was generally known as the Chelsea-Hackney line. Transport for London, the Department for Transport and PricewaterhouseCoopers are now undertaking a funding and feasibility study, following a public consultation ovr the summer.
If it goes ahead, the new line could open by 2030 and is expected to cost £20bn. But Boris Johnson said this morning that London itself could contribute “well over half” this cost, thus reducing the burden on the national Treasury.