Councils from across London and the South East have urged the Government to give the Crossrail 2 scheme its full backing.
London Councils, which represents London’s 32 borough councils and the City of London, and authorities from Cambridge to Portsmouth have written to chancellor Philip Hammond and transport secretary Chris Grayling to highlight the project’s importance to them – and stress that its benefits would be felt nationwide.
Trains from Gunwharf Keys (Portsmouth Harbour) run to Waterloo
The group argues that Crossrail 2 ‘will transform journey times and connectivity from the Solent to the Wash’, relieve congestion on overcrowded rail lines from Portsmouth to Cambridge, and link with HS2 at Euston.
Cllr Claire Kober, chair of London Councils, said: ‘London Councils fully supports Crossrail 2 and it is crucial that government now demonstrates its commitment to the scheme.
‘The project will provide a much-needed boost to business across the UK in an uncertain economic environment, and is vital to relieve pressure on London’s essential transport network, which is impacted by population growth.’
Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones said: ‘Many commuters from Portsmouth and the wider South East rely on a quick and efficient rail service into London, but with rising passenger numbers, demand is outstripping capacity.
‘Crossrail 2 would provide much needed capacity at London Waterloo, enabling extra, long-distance trains to operate more reliably to and from key cities such as ours.’
London mayor Sadiq Khan said: ‘The support of local councils from Cambridge through to Portsmouth shows just how important Crossrail 2 is, not just to London but to the entire South East.’
Transport for London has submitted an updated business case and funding plan to the Mr Grayling, who is due to make a decision in the spring on further Government support. Construction could start in the early 2020s and the new line could be operational by 2033.