National Infrastructure Commission: 'No reason to delay on Crossrail 2'


Crossrail 2 should be taken forward as a priority and initial funding should be made available immediately to enable it to open in 2033, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has said.

The NIC said London should pay for more than half the total cost of the scheme, currently estimated by Transport for London (TfL) to be £32.6bn.

Additionally, TfL and the Department for Transport should identify clear proposals to maximise its benefits and increase deliverability.


One option would be to delay the north-western branch to New Southgate, which the NIC estimates could reduce costs of the initial scheme in the 2020s by around £4bn.

NIC chair Lord Adonis said other key elements to be considered include private financing to help build stations and ‘crucially, a clear, transformative strategy’ to turn proposals for 200,000 new homes into a reality. 

The NIC has identified transport connectivity as a key reason why not enough new housing is being built in the capital.

Lord Adonis said: ‘By the 2030s London will be a megacity of more than 10 million people. Even allowing for planned investment and the imminent arrival of the east-west Crossrail line, the capital will grind to a halt unless significant further improvements are made.

‘That’s why London needs Crossrail 2 as quickly as possible. A new north-east to south-west line would help relieve severe overcrowding across some of the busiest Network Rail stations in the country, and the most congested Underground lines and overground commuter routes.’

He added: ‘There is no good reason to delay. Crossrail 2 will help keep London moving, create hundreds of thousands of homes and fire regeneration across the city from north-east to south-west. We should get on with it right away, and have the line open by 2033’

The NIC recommends that funding should be made available to develop the scheme fully with the aim of submitting a hybrid bill by autumn 2019.

This conclusion comes after the Commission was asked to review the strategic case for additional large-scale transport infrastructure in the capital and its region, with particular reference to Crossrail 2.

Its report Transport for a world city identified four specific challenges the capital would face from the late 2020s. These are: overcrowding on key Underground lines, lack of capacity on commuter service rail routes and at major Network Rail stations, insufficient orbital links particularly in east London, and the need for transport to promote significant housing growth within and around London.

The NIC calculated that under the DfT’s WebTAG methodology ‘Crossrail 2 generates benefits that are only marginally greater than its costs’. But it said that including a range of harder to quantify and unquantified impacts, provides a UK net Gross Value Added impact with a mid-point present value (at 2011 prices) range of between £33bn and £47bn.

Suzanne Moroney, Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) London Director said: ‘We welcome the Commission’s conclusion that Crossrail 2 will help to deliver the much improved capacity and connectivity the capital will need, generate thousands of new homes and should be a priority.

'The Commission is also right to recommend that funds to enable the rail link are released now. If we are to tackle the future challenges of population growth and climate change, and retain London’s position as a leading global city, we must plan and mobilise the finance and skills for key infrastructure projects like this now.’


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