Elizabeth line train. (Picture: TfL)
The Crossrail 2 project has been put “on hold” according to TfL commissioner Andy Byford.
Not to be confused with Crossrail, Crossrail 2 is the proposed north-south line that would have connected Hertfordshire with Surrey, running from Broxbourne through London to several destinations in Surrey including Epsom, Shepperton and Hampton Court.
In the central tunnelled section of the route, the line would have run from Wimbledon in the south through Tooting and on to New Southgate and Tottenham Hale in the north, providing an interchange with other London Underground, Overground and National Rail services including Victoria and Euston St Pancras.
The delay was revealed at a meeting of the London Assembly’s transport committee on Monday 8th March, following a question from Labour’s Joanne McCartney about which major transport projects have been delayed or cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Bakerloo line extension is also set to be put on hold.
The TfL commissioner told the Assembly that the Bakerloo Line extension and Crossrail 2 “have good business cases” and that “we’re not saying we don’t want to do them”, but that both would be “on hold” for the time being.
Mr Byford said: “If you’ve got finite funds or your budget is cut, the one thing you must do is keep the existing system in a safe and secure state. It’s got to be maintained in a good state of repair because that is a legal responsibility, it’s also a moral imperative. We’ve got to look after our customers and our colleagues. The second priority is to finish what’s already started. It’d be crazy to start something new if you didn’t have enough funding. Let’s get the Crossrail project finished, let’s get the Elizabeth Line open. We’re not stone deaf. We do know that there is a financial crisis in the country, £2 trillion debt now. So, we won’t be able to do everything.”
Just last week, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps issued guidance to safeguard the route for the proposed Bakerloo Line extension from Elephant and Castle through to Lewisham, meaning that the land needed for the extension could not be used for another purpose.
Andy Byford today said that TfL is “seeking safeguarding for Crossrail 2” from the Transport Secretary so that its proposed route will also be protected. The Crossrail 2 project was expected to be given the go ahead in the early 2020s with the aim of being operational by the 2030s. Mr Byford did not give a time scale for when the projects are expected to go ahead.