The Anonymous Widower

Call For Crossrail 2

In The Times today, there is a letter from a wide cross section of business leaders calling for a start to be made on Crossrail 2. ITV have reported a major speech by Boris Johnson on the subject today.

I am very much in favour of the construction of this North-East to South-West line across London, which was first proposed in the 1970s.

Cynics amongst you, will probably say that I am in favour of Crossrail 2, as I live just a few hundred metres away from the proposed double-ended Dalston station, that will transform the area and make my house rise substantially in value.

In my view there are several reasons why Crossrail 2 should be built.

1. HS2

HS2 is currently planned to terminate at Euston station, although I think that could be changed by a more innovative solution. But whatever happens to the London end of HS2, it needs to be simply connected into the knitting of the Underground, so terminating somewhere in the area between Kings Cross and Euston, is probably a certainty.

Every recent design for Crossrail 2 shows it serving the three important London stations of Kings Cross, St. Pancras and Euston. It also links these stations to Victoria and Clapham Junction.

Have you ever tried to use the Victoria Line between Euston and Victoria with a heavy case or a baby in a buggy? It’s bad enough at normal times and impossible in the rush hour.

So when HS2 starts squeezing more passengers through the congested Euston Underground station, it will be a disaster.

I believe that the only way to connect HS2 into London is to build Crossrail 2 first.

2. Sorting The Northern Line

If there is one line of the Underground that needs some substantial sorting it is the Northern Line. Probably because it the oldest deep line of the Underground, it never seems to be where you want it to go! For instance, I can get to Angel fairly easily, but often want to a station on the other branch of the line through London.

The line is being improved in the following ways.

1, An extension to Battersea is being created, that may eventually go to Clapham Junction.

2. Future developments at Bank station should see an improved station with new or larger platforms and tunnels.

3. Rebuilding plans exist for the bottleneck of Camden Town station, but every plan seems to offend one pressure group or another.

4. Long term objectives include splitting the line into two, with all City branch trains going to Morden and all Charing Cross trains going to Battersea.

Crossrail 2 will have interchanges with the Northern Line at Angel, Kings Cross St. Pancras, Euston, Tottenham Court Road, Tooting Broadway and possibly Clapham Junction. So it looks like that Crossrail 2 will certainly make journeys easier for users of the Northern Line.

But Crossrail 2 will have its biggest effect at Euston station, which is a station that needs serious improvement.

1. The station is a maze of cramped tunnels and is not by any means step-free.

2. Euston Square station needs to be properly connected to the Euston main line and Underground stations.

3. Changing between the two branches of the Northern Line at Euston, is not easy, as you have to walk a fair distance in crowded tunnels.

Adding a Crossrail 2 station at Euston won’t be a trivial matter, but it gives everybody a chance to dig their way out of the problems left to us by history.

In  Crossrail 2 Tunnels Under London, I speculated that Crossrail 2 will be dug very deep and that the uphill excavation technique used at Whitechapel will be used to connect to existing stations.

Could techniques such as this be used to excavate a new Euston Crossrail 2 and Underground station beneath Euston Road, that linked upwards into Euston main line station and Euston Square Underground station?

At the very least techniques should be investigated so that Euston is extended without all the hassle of demolition. After all, architects and engineers worked out how to extend Kings Cross and St. Pancras, whilst keeping the stations running during the construction.

3. Easing Congestion On The Victoria Line

This summer, the Northern end of the Victoria Line is being closed for most of August whilst a crossover is changed at Walthamstow Central. According to this press release on the Transport for London web site, this will mean thirty-six trains an hour from Walthamstow Central to Brixton from April 2016.

But this is only correcting one of the faults of a line that was built to an inadequate specification in the 1960s, which resulted in some crap inaccessible stations and a foreshortened line compared to what it should have been.

Crossrail 2 will effectively by-pass the central part of the Victoria Line as the two lines connect at Tottenham Hale, Seven Sisters, Kings Cross, Euston and Victoria.


4. Development Of North East London

I have lived in the North East sector of London for well over thirty of my nearly sixty-eight years.

Some of the problems I observed around White Hart Lane stadium in the 1960s, are still there and only now fifty years later, is that area being redeveloped, with a new football ground, a big supermarket, lots of houses and a virtually new White Hart Lane station. The long awaited development has been totally necessary for at least forty years.

But that area of Haringey is just one small part of North East London, that needs help to create more quality housing, successful business and jobs and leisure opportunities for all.

At least developers are busy all up the Lower Lea Valley and in Waltham Forest.

1. As I said earlier, Tottenham are at last starting to build a new football stadium.

2. Haringey is developing the Tottenham High Road

3. There is a massive development starting at Meridian Water, which I wrote about here.

4. Thames Water are even doing their bit, by developing the reservoirs into the Walthamstow Wetlands, which will become  the largest urban wetland nature reserve in London.

Transport for London are doing their best to improve transport links in North East London, with the expansion of the London Overground and the upgrading of the Victoria Line.

Crossrail 2 with its stations in the Lea Valley and at Tottenham Hale, Seven Sisters and Dalston will be the high capacity link to Central London, that could create real wealth in some of these poorer areas of London.

5. Avoiding Waterloo

From North East London to Waterloo is not the easiest of journeys, unless you can get on the Victoria Line easily and just walk across at Oxford Circus. This is a route I sometimes use, but generally in the week I use a bus to Bank and then the Waterloo and City Line. We’ve had all the fuss about the Night Tube, but I think to get seven-day working on the Waterloo and City and the Northern City Lines is more important.

Network Rail have announced they are going to upgrade Waterloo, but will this solve the problem of getting to the station?

However, Crossrail 2 will give many a new route to places like Southampton and Portsmouth, that avoids Waterloo, by changing at Clapham Junction instead. Other routes will also be available via Victoria, Tottenham Court Road and Wimbledon.

From South West London, as many stations will be  connected to Crossrail 2, anybody going to Central London will be able to go direct.

I believe that Crossrail 2 will take a lot of pressure, from one of London’s busiest stations.

6. Better Connectivity

Some of the very important places I need to get to are quite difficult from Dalston. I suspect others say that about their parts of London.

For me, the difficult ones are the stations at Charing Cross, Waterloo and Paddington, although Crossrail will ease going to the last, as I’ll just change at Whitechapel. Crossrail 2 will ease getting to Charing Cross and Waterloo, as I’ll just change at Euston or Tottenham Court Road onto the Northern.

In some ways Crossrail 2 is just adding two more arms to a spider centred on Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road and Farringdon stations.

When Crossrail, Crossrail 2 and Thameslink are completed, so many journeys across the capital from the suburbs will just be either direct or a single change in the centre.

Thinking Outside The Box About Building Crossrail 2

I suspect that due to the cost of building a rail line like Crossrail 2, that there are some very radical plans for building  the line.

So let’s look at the various parts of the project.

1. The tunnelled section between Tottenham Hale and Alexandra Palace to Wimbledon together with the below-ground stations will be the major cost of Crossrail 2. All of the central stations, with the exception of Chelsea are interchanges.

2. The trains hopefully will be a follow-on order to the Class 345 trains that have been ordered for Crossrail.

3. It would also to be hoped that other designs could be lifted across or modified to keep costs at a minimum.

4. The three surface sections of the line up the Lea Valley Lines, up the East Coast Main Line and  spreading out from Wimbledon, have stations in various states of repair and only a few have full step-free access.

Crossrail is being built, by boring the tunnel and then creating the stations and upgrading the surface sections, but I would almost build Crossrail 2 in the reverse order.

Although the surface sections are not in the best of health, whereas Crossrail linked two four-track railways together, a lot of the lines in the outer reaches of Crossrail 2 only have two tracks, which will mean that upgrading them to the required standard will be a lot easier.

So after finalising the design for the whole line, I’d build Crossrail 2 like this.

1. Rebuild all surface racks and stations to the required modern standard with the removal of level crossings and the addition of appropriate step-free features. Obviously, higher levels of passenger comforts would be added like better information and integration with surface transport, wi-fi, perhaps a decent coffee shop, warm waiting room and clean toilets.

But then we should be doing this with all stations in the UK and not just those touched by Crossrail 2. How much would it encourage people to travel by rail, if they knew that all stations, they would encounter on a journey would be of a high standard?

2. All of the surface lines for Crossrail 2 are electrified, even if some use third-rail electrification. One of the costs of overhead electrification is raising bridges and structures to give clearance, so I would use dual-voltage trains in the same way as Thameslink.

3. The new trains, which hopefully would be the same Class 345 trains, as those on Crossrail would then be introduced on the surface lines. Depots would need to be built.

4. The  Central London interchange stations of Seven Sisters, Dalston, Angel, Kings Cross/St.Pancras/Euston, Tottenham Court Road, Victoria, Clapham Junction, Tooting Broadway and Wimbledon would all be upgraded, so that they are ready to accept the access tunnels from the new Crosrail 2 platforms.

As I believe that Crossrail 2 will be dug at a depth of around or more than fifty metres and it will be connected to existing stations, as Whitechapel has been by uphill excavation, these modifications will not be as great as those at the Crossrail stations like Liverpool Street, Tottenham Court Road, Bond Street and Paddington.

Looking at the list of stations, I can add these notes.

Dalston Junction, Angel, Kings Cross St. Pancras, Tottenham Court Road, Victoria and Clapham Junction have been recently or are being rebuilt and I would hope they have been future-proofed for connection to Crossrail 2.

Seven Sisters, Dalston Kingsland, Euston and Wimbledon need substantial improvement or rebuilding, so this would include provision for Crossrail 2.

5. Only when all the surface sections and the Central London stations were upgraded and ready, would the two tunnel boring machines be threaded between Tottenham Hale and Wimbledon.

This phase would be completed as follows.

  • Connecting or uphill excavating from the tunnels into the existing stations.
  • Fitting out the tracks and the new platforms.
  • Testing of systems and trial running of the trains.

It does sound simplistic, but then engineers will have learned a lot from building Crossrail.

6. Finally, the Chelsea station would be built. As this is a completely new station leaving it until after the line has been built in much the same way as Pimlico was built for the Victoria Line would probably ease construction of the line.




July 18, 2015 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , ,


  1. […] In Call For Crossrail 2, I said this. […]

    Pingback by HS2 Euston Hub May Not Be Viable, LBC Discovers « The Anonymous Widower | December 12, 2016 | Reply

  2. […] years ago to the day, I wrote a post called Call For Crossrail 2 in response to a letter in The Times, from a wide cross section of business leaders calling for a […]

    Pingback by 17 Tube Stations That Face Chronic Overcrowding If Crossrail 2 Is Stopped « The Anonymous Widower | July 19, 2017 | Reply

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