The Anonymous Widower

Crossrail 2 Question Time

I was rather disappointed with the first two Crossrail 2 consultations, that I visited. The people from the project I had met, tended to be managers or in public relations people. I was starting to feel that I would need to take anther route to find out about Crossrail 2, so I could answer questions of those worroed that the project might change their lives, in a way they would not welcome.

Recently, I have been to two presentations by Transport for London.

Camden Town Station – This presentation was very professional and I was able to speak to the Project Manager, who explained what they were proposing, which I detailed in The Camden Town Upgrade Exhibition.

Hackney Central Station – This smaller presentation was also very professional, despite just being a series of architect’s visualisations on easels in a library. But they did have people there who understood the whys and wherefores of the project. My visit is detailed in A First Glimpse Of The Planned Hackney Central Station.

Late last week, I came across another presentation and as it had just opened for the day, I went in and asked if any of the engineers were present.

This time there were at least two.

The following sections describe the chat I had with one of the engineers. Some of the things I say here, have been suggested by the words we had on a subject.

My Blog

It turned out they had seen this blog and asked if they could use some of the pictures in their documentation, as up-to-date pictures are difficult to find.

The answer is of course yes, anyone can use my pictures, provided they tell me!

I take pictures for my own enjoyment, and if they help someone in their business, profession or personal life, then I’m pleased to help.

Four-Tracking Along The Lea Valley

The main West Anglia Main Line from Liverpool Street to Cambridge and Stansted Airport, via Tottenham Hale, Broxbourne and Bishops Stortford is generally a twin-track railway, but Network Rail have plans to add two extra tracks, which would be conventionally a pair of slow and a pair of fast lines.

I asked if the two new lines would be on the East of the current tracks.

The answer was yes, with a qualifier of tricky! I think you can say that again if you look at some of the stations like Brimsdown, which I talked about in Before Crossrail 2 – Brimsdown.

I think that something radical will end up being done up the Lea Valley.

My plan would of course be impossible as I’m not knowledgeable enough.

It would be something like this.

  • Create separate fast and slow railways, each of which would have two tracks.
  • Trains on the fast railway would only call at Tottenham Hale and Broxbourne, when they are in Crossrail 2 territory. It would mean that a passenger from say Cambridge to Ponders End, would have to change at Broxbourne. But they do that now!
  • The slow lines would be the Western pair of lines, not the East.

If the slow lines, which would be used by Crossrail 2, were on the west, this might simplify the junction, where the Crossrail 2 trains  enter the tunnel under London, as they don’t have to cross the fast lines.

If Crossrail 2 also incorporates the Hertford East branch, then having the slow lines on the West means that trains for the branch don’t have to cross the fast lines. It might be arranged, that past Broxbourne, the slow lanes go to Hertford East.

Broxbourne Station

Broxbourne station may end up being complicated, but then if the Hertford East branch is incorporated into Crossrail and four trains per hour (tph) go to Hertford East and eight tph terminate at Broxbourne, it can’t be anything else.

  • I would have a series of terminating bay platforms for Crossrail 2 and other services, with the two fast lines on either side.
  • The Hertford East trains would be on the Western side of the station, possibly with a single island platform.
  • Passengers would walk across on the level between the fast platforms and the terminating ones in between.
  • Passengers would only use lifts and escalators to exit the station and access the Hertford East lines.
  • There would probably have to be some way for the Down Fast line to cross the lines going into the bay platforms. Would a dive-under be possible?

Broxbourne has plenty of space as this Google Map of the station shows.

Broxbourne Station

Broxbourne Station

It sounds complicated, but many stations are a mix of terminating and through platforms. As the Google Map shows Broxbourne is a greenfield site with space, not a cramped inner-city one.

Terminating London Overground Services At Broxbourne

I would also provide enough space at Broxbourne for more bay platforms, so that London Overground services could be extended to the station to link up with the long distance services, that would not call at Cheshunt station.

This would not degrade any services, you’d just change at a different station, if say you were going from Stamford Hill to Cambridge.

Stratford And Lea Bridge Services

Services from Stratford station and the new Lea Bridge station are an added complication.

Transport for London needs to answer these questions.

  • Do they want to run Stansted Expresses from Stratford to the Airport from Stratford?
  • Do they want to lumber Crossrail 2 with a service of 4 tph from Stratford to Northumberland Park, which is supposed to be starting soon?
  • How do they get better services on the Chingford Branch Line?
  • How do they get more trains through Lea Bridge station?
  • How do they get extra Overground platforms at Stratford?

I believe a lot of problems can be solved by reopening the Hall Farm Curve and running four trains or more per hour from Stratford to Walthamstow and Chingford via Lea Bridge.

The problem still remains of how you get a decent service between Stratford and the stations from Tottenham Hale northward. At present they have a totally inadequate two trains an hour.

But as Stratford is such an important hub and after Crossrail opens will be even more so, there surely is a strong need for a service up the Lea Valley to Bishops Stortford and Stansted.

So could a 4 tph Stansted train go from Stratford stopping at all stations to Broxbourne, where it continued calling at all stations to Bishops Stortford and Stansted?

Probably yes! But I suspect there are better plans!

There’s even been suggestions of extending the Chingford branch to the airport, through Epping Forest.

Any Crossrail 2 plans must deal with the problems of Stratford services.

Four-Tracking Along The Lea Valley Should Be Done Soonest

With my Project Management hat on, I’ve felt for a long time, that the surface sections of Crossrail 2, should be upgraded to full step-free access before the central works on Crossrail 2 begin.

Four-tracking along the Lea Valley should also be done as early as possible, whether Crossrail 2 is built soon or in a hundred years.


My informant had some interesting things to say about tunnelling.

This will be simpler than Crossrail and hopefully, there will just be a single drive betweenTottenham Hale and Wimbledon.

They would also aim to take as much of the spoil as possible out through the tunnels. This obviously removes the contentious issue of large numbers of trucks in Central London.

When asked specifically about uphill excavation, my informant said they were looking at using something better and would like to do the tunnels first and take out all the spoil through the tunnels.

I was told that they preferred to run tunnels under existing rail corridors, as they did with the Channel Tunnel Rail Link under the North London Line. I think we both agreed that if the Palace Gates line were to be still in place, that the New Southgate branch of Crossrail 2 would be easier.

I was also told that some of the ground conditions in South London are very poor, but that there is a band of London clay to the West of the route. This partly explains the substitution of Balham for Tooting Broadway. But it would appear Balham may be challenging, although it is a station, where a passenger-friendly connection between Crossrail 2 and the Northern Line can be built.

Crossrail 2 At Dalston

My informant had some specific things to say about Crossrail 2 at Dalston.

Crossrail 2 will have to avoid the Channel Tunnel Rail Link at Dalston and at the moment, they could go over the line.

This would make the two station shafts at Dalston shallower, which would have all sorts of implications, both positive and negative. There would be less spoil to remove when building the shafts and as height is always expensive in building, it could lower the cost.

Politics And Economics

We were agreed that these would be the big drivers of the development of Crossrail 2.

Crossrail, Archaeology And Public Relations

Crossrail has used archaeology to good effect to publicise what they are doing.

Archaeology will not be an issue with Crossrail 2, but they must find something to fire the public’s imagination.

The first thing that should be done is sort out the surface sections that will be used for Crossrail 2. This would include.

  • Four-tracking the West Anglia Main Line
  • Making all stations on the surface sections step-free and Crossrail 2-ready.
  • Rebuilding stations like Broxbourne, Tottenham Hale and Wimbledon.
  • Sort out the relationship between trains up the Lea Valley, the London Overground and the stations at Stratford and Stansted Airport.
  • Sort out the various branches served from Wimbledon.
  • Increase services as best we can on the existing lines, that will be part of Crossrail 2.

If this could be done in the next few years, it would demonstrate that Crossrail 2 are serious about London.

I feel strongly that we can use Crossrail 2 as also an education project, perhaps specifically in the areas of engineering, architecture and how infrastructure projects benefit communities.

Crossrail was designed before the explosion in social media and Crossrail 2 should be taking advantage of it to enthuse children of all ages.

Crossrail 2 is London’s railway and there is a lot more it can do for the City, other than just people around.


I had a good and very fruitful discussion.

Crossrail 2 should make sure that informed people are available at all consultations.



November 22, 2015 - Posted by | Transport/Travel |


  1. “A new 3rd Track between Stratford and Angel Road has been approved after £74 million of investment by Network Rail and the Greater London Authority with completion due in 2018.”

    Comment by Hagelkorn | November 22, 2015 | Reply

  2. Thanks!

    Comment by AnonW | November 22, 2015 | Reply

  3. […] Crossrail 2 Question Time, I describe a meeting with two Crossrail 2 […]

    Pingback by Could A Fourth Track Be Squeezed In At Tottenham Hale Station? « The Anonymous Widower | September 9, 2019 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: