The Anonymous Widower

Crossrail 2’s Tunnels Under London

Length And Stations Of The Tunnels In Crossrail And Crossrail 2

Crossrail has been designed with 42 km of rail tunnels under London., with seven  new underground stations at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street Whitechapel and Woolwich. In addition there are new above ground stations at Canary Wharf and Custom House.

Crossrail 2 in contrast has according to this article in the Guardian has 35 km or as they say 22 miles of rail tunnels. According to this route shown on the Crossrail 2 web site, it will have underground stations at Alexandra Palace, Angel, Clapham Junction, Dalston Junction, Euston/St. Pancras, Kings Road/Chelsea, Seven Sisters, Tooting Broadway, Tottenham Court Road, Turnpike Lane and Victoria.

The Crossrail 2 Central Tunnel

I created this map from the one shown on the route page.

Crossrail 2 Central Tunnel

Crossrail 2 Central Tunnel

Note that there are three portals at Tottenham Hale, New Southgate and Wimbledon.

Thoughts About The Routes

Not much has been published about the finer details of the routes but some things stand out.

1. The two Northern branches to Tottenham Hale and New Southgate would appear to split around Coppermill Junction, which is close to a sizeable area of undeveloped land, that could probably serve the same purpose for Crossrail 2, as the Limmo Peninsular access shaft did for Crossrail.

2. The New Southgate branch, would appear to roughly follow underneath the route of the old Palace Gates Line. Logic says that if you tunnel along the line of an old raulway, which for much of its route, has not been built on, you can’t interfere with many buildings.

How Deep Will The Tunnel Be?

Crossrail is deep under London. This article on the Crossrail web site says that the construction shaft at the major tunnel junction at Stepney Green, has a depth of 34.5 metres. As at Tottenham Court Road station, they threaded the tunnels through within a few centimetres of the Northern Line, which is generally one of the deeper Underground lines, I suspect that there is a vast network of tunnels that have to be avoided., which in addition to the tube lines, include the Northern City line, HS1 and at least one newly-built electricity tunnel.

So would the designers of the tunnel make it deeper than all the others? The Wikipedia article on HS1 says this about the tunnels.

The depth of the tunnels varies from 24 metres to 50 metres.

As Crossrail 2 will cross HS1 in the Dalston area, it will have to go either above or below this line. I know very little about tunneling, but I do think that a deep tunnel under London at around or dseeper than 50 metres is possible.

The main problem with deep tunnels is connecting them to the stations above, so being able to do this in an affordable and acceptable manner to passengers, may limit the depth to which the tunnels go. I use Angel station with its long escalators that rise 27 metres regularly and I would prefer that an alternative solution was found, if stations on Crossrail 2 were deeper. Perhaps large modern and very fast lifts could be used, as these make the station totally step-free.

I don’t know whether this has been done on Crossrail, but when they built the Victoria Line they arranged that stations were hump-backed, so trains would slow down as they arrived in the station and accelerate away down the hill. Wikipedia says this.

Each platform constructed specifically for the Victoria line from new is 132.6 metres (435 ft) long. The line has hump-backed stations to allow trains to store gravitational potential energy as they slow down and release it when they leave a station, providing an energy saving of 5% and making the trains run 9% faster.

This sort of technique, which now is probably a lot easier using modern tunnel boring machines that can be precisely controlled, will probably be used on Crossrail 2 to in addition to the energy savings, bring the station platforms closer to the surface, which should make construction easier and more affordable.

The Tottenham Hale Portal

This Google Earth map shows the area south of Tottenham Hale station.

The Area South Of Tottenham Hale

The Area South Of Tottenham Hale

Note :-

1. The West Anglia Main Line running in a north-south direction, from the red arrow that marks the station, which will be connected to Crossrail 2.

2. The blue line is the route of the Victoria Line.

3. The orange line is the Gospel Oak to Barking Line (GOBlin).

This is probably an ideal place to build a tunnel portal, as if it can’t be squeezed in alongside the West Anglia Main Line, there is a lot of open land in the area, that is only occupied by water, wildlife and illegally-dumped refuse.

There are plans to add extra tracks to the West Anglia Main Line as is detailed in Wikipedia. This is said.

It seems likely that two tracks will be built alongside the line to Cheshunt as part of Crossrail 2. Intermediate stations from Tottenham Hale will transfer to Crossrail 2 releasing capacity on the main line for additional trains.

A prudent Network Rail, would probably add these extra tracks, even if Crossrail 2 wasn’t to be built for say fifty years, as it would speed up services to Cambridge and Stansted.

The New Southgate Portal

This Google Earth map shows the area south of New Southgate station, which is the destination of the branch of Crossrail 2

The Area South Of New Southgate Station

The Area South Of New Southgate Station

Note :-

1. The station is indicated by the arrow at the top, with the East Coast Main Line running roughly north-west to south-east.

2. The blue line is the Piccadilly Line.

I know the area well and it is one of the worst sections of the North Circular Road, being restricted by a railway bridge with two-way traffic. This enlarged view shows the crossing of the East Coast Main Line and the North Circular Road better.

The East Coast Main Line Crossing The North Circular Road

The East Coast Main Line Crossing The North Circular Road

In this view you can just see the platforms of New Southgate station at the top. The East Coast Main Line runs down the image, with the North Circular Road and the stalled traffic going across. The green area at the bottom is owned by the North London Waste Authority, who intended to build an incinerator there, But that idea seems to have been abandoned. I’m sure Transport for London can find a better use for it. This picture shows the bridge taking the Railway over the North Circular Road.

The Railway Bridge At New Southgate

The Railway Bridge At New Southgate

I can’t imagine English Heritage rushing to save it, if Network Rail decided to replace it.

When I first heard that Crossrail 2 was being planned as going to New Southgate, I visited the station and wrote this post, in which I said this.

Looking at the map, as New Southgate station is close to the North Circular Road and is generally surrounded by industrial estates, although there is some housing, there would be scope to probably create a really good transport interchange with a large bus station and perhaps even a tram line along the North Circular Road from Brent Cross to Enfield or Southgate. If nothing else, all of the work should result in the notorious bottleneck on the road being eased.

I am still enthusiastic and very much feel that a very innovative station and transport interchange could be built here, especially if combined with putting the road in a concrete tunnel with development on top, as was done at Hatfield.

The Wimbledon Portal

This Google Earth map shows the railway line between Wimbledon station almost to Earlsfield station.

Wimbledon To Earlsfield

Wimbledon To Earlsfield

Note :-

1. Wimbledon station is at the bottom left and the South Western Main Line to Earlsfield runs at perhaps twenty degrees to the right of the vertical, with Earlsfield just off the image.

2. Near the top of the image level with Wimbledon Park station is Wimbledon Traincare Depot.

There would appear to be several places where the tunnels could emerge alongside the line, with somewhere around the Traincare Depot a prime candidate.

Thoughts About Stations

These are just a series of random thoughts about the stations and will be added to as time progresses.

1. Seven Sisters

As I was writing this I saw how the New Southgate branch followed the old Palace Gates Line between Alexandra Palace and Seven Sisters stations.

Look at this image showing the proximity of Seven Sisters and South Tottenham stations.

Seven Sisters And South Tottenham Stations

Seven Sisters And South Tottenham Stations

The blue line shows the route of the Victoria Line at Seven Sisters, which is a double-ended station of a unique and unusual design.

The orange line is the GOBlin and you can also see the curve that allows trains to pass between the GOBlin and the Lea Valley Line.

If I am correct that the junction between the two northern branches is close to Coppermill Junction, then the line of the tunnels will virtually pass under South Tottenham station in a south-east to north-west direction, probably perpendicular to the Victoria Line.

I think, if the tunnels were correctly aligned then a double-ended station could be created for Crossrail 2, where the south-eastern end could be connected by escalator and/or lifts into South Tottenham station and the north-western end could be connected into Seven Sisters station. I met an engineer who’d been in one of the new Crossrail stations and she said that to accomodate the 200 metre long Class 345 trains, the stations are massive. I can’t believe that Crossrail 2 stations will be any shorter, as they will surely use similar, if not identical trains.

One point to note, is as Crossrail 2 and the Victoria Line would cross at right-angles at Seven Sisters, the Crossrail 2 tunnels could be bored to be close underneath the bottom of the Victoria Line platforms, so that this connection, wouldn’t be a massive deep excavation, which required long escalators and lifts.

Only Transport for London would know if such a connection would be worthwhile. But I have a strong feeling that if the Gospel Oak to Barking Line was connected to Crossrail 2, the connection would be very beneficial.

2. Dalston Junction

If a double-ended station might be possible at Seven Sisters, it’s certainly possible to create one in Dalston, to connect Kingsland and Junction stations. Especially, as Dalston Kingsland station is going to be rebuilt in the next few years.

3. Euston/St. Pancras

This will be a large double-ended station and hopefully while they’re building the station, they sort out the dreadful maze of tunnels under Kings Cross and St. Pancras, which were obviously designed by an architect, who liked complicated knitting.

You have to remember that Euston to St. Pancras is not a short walk and at a rough measure it is not much short of 800 metres. So if you get in at the wrong end of the train, you’ve got a long walk.

It’s when I see messes like the Underground and Thameslink connections at Euston, St. Pancras and Kings Cross, that I feel we need to do something extremely radical.

I also feel that modern large capacity high speed lifts may be a solution to getting a simple and efficient solution, in getting up and down from a deep level railway.

4. Angel

I had a few thoughts about this station in this post.

I won’t repeat myself.

5. Tottenham Court Road

If Crossrail works out as the designers hope, we might be able to say more of the same here.

Tottenham Court Road is a bit like that trick when a magician folds a pretty young lady into a box and then puts several swords through the box without drawing blood.

Except that there are four train lines instead of swords.

6. Victoria

Victoria will be a tricky station to get right.

I also think that other developments in the next few years might make any speculation here redundant.

The lines south of the Thames are not very logical and were probably designed by the grandfather of the architect, who designed the pedestrian tunnels at Kings Cross/St. Pancras.

Hopefully Thameslink will make this better with the central stations from St.Pancras to London Bridge feeding passengers into a train every three minutes. If it does what it says on the tin, then Victoria might become a less busy station. But I doubt it!

What would help is to tie more and more services into cross-London services, where this was feasible. The East London Line could take fifty percent more trains and the West London Line is seriously underutilised.

Crossrail 2 itself might even help the situation at Victoria, as passengers will use it to get to Clapham Junction for their long distance train.

And I would also support Lord Adonis’s position of more orange trains.

7. Kings Road/Chelsea

Chelsea station or whatever it’s called is controversial. All the residents actually want is more space to park their tractors.

Seriously though, how about a station running under the Kings Road with lifts every fifty metres or so.

8. Clapham Junction

Clapham Junction will hopefully be served by the Northern Line Extension, by the time they start building Crossrail 2 and this might mean that some of the more desperate reasons for adding Clapham Junction to the tube network are partly satisfied.

As Clapham Junction is an immense station, a big underground station could be built that almost accesses all of the current platforms through individual connections.

Clapham Junction Station

Clapham Junction Station

This would be possible, if it could be arranged that Crossrail 2 passed under Clapham Junction station at right angles to the lines through the station, in the vague direction of the overbridge towards the left of this image.

In some ways it would be like an upside down version of the new Reading station.




January 8, 2015 - Posted by | Transport | , ,


  1. The map in this post shows plenty of space for the Wimbledon portal to the north-east of the station, but various Crossrail 2 maps and reports show the portal to the south-west, presumably with the idea of additional subsurface platforms, but this raises a few issues. First, where is the space south-west of the station for the portal? There is a small industrial estate near the junction within the safeguarded land, but the angle looks very tight for a sweeping entry into a tunnel portal. Second, if the portal is to be north-east of the station, while this would provide much more preferable surface level connections for passengers, is there sufficient platform capacity with the current platforms?

    Comment by Peter Wickenden | March 22, 2015 | Reply

    • Who’s to know what will happen in ten years or so when the design is finalised. The only certainties is that tunnelling machines will be bigger, faster and more powerful, tunnelling techniques will be more innovative, station architecture will be both more spectacular and affordable.and trains and signalling will enable many more trains to run over our current lines.

      Soi one possibility is that Crossrail 2 is a totally different project, at last giving Euston a world-class Underground station.

      The possibilities are endless and extra capacity is needed now, not some vague time in the future.

      Comment by AnonW | March 22, 2015 | Reply

  2. […] this post, I speculated that South Tottenham and Seven Sisters stations could share a double-ended Crossrail […]

    Pingback by Crossrail 2 At South Tottenham « The Anonymous Widower | March 28, 2015 | Reply

  3. […]  Crossrail 2 Tunnels Under London, I speculated that Crossrail 2 will be dug very deep and that the uphill excavation technique used […]

    Pingback by Call For Crossrail 2 « The Anonymous Widower | July 18, 2015 | Reply

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