Transport chiefs look ahead to Crossrail 3

February 4 2015  

Transport chiefs look ahead to Crossrail 3

Continued growth in the capital’s population makes Crossrail 3 a serious proposition, delegates to a Policy Forum for London event were told on Tuesday. But event speakers and a prominent local politician told TP Weekly News that this very long term project should not divert focus from delivery of Crossrail 2.

Transport for London’s strategy and planning director Richard De Cani described Crossrail 2 – linking North East with South West suburbs – as a “top priority for new transport capacity by 2030”. He went on to add that London “will absolutely need further capacity beyond Crossrail 2 by 2050, and work is needed to define what we do”. He later declined to speculate as to where in the capital a third Crossrail route might serve.

Former Minister for London Nick Raynsford MP commented: “It is a little early to say where Crossrail 3 should go, as we need to get Crossrail 2 off the ground first.” The Mayor of London’s aviation and rail advisor Daniel Moylan added that advocates of new infrastructure need to remain “determined and focused” on delivering Crossrail 2 and that there are “no firm plans” for a route for Crossrail 3.

Delegates to the forum were earlier told by Mr De Cani that London is expanding beyond current boundaries in every direction and that some of the highest population growths will be seen in outer London boroughs.

“Crossrail 2 will connect homes and jobs, provide vital connections that drive the economy and addresses a number of critical transport problems such as congestion on the approach to Waterloo,” he said.

Network Rail’s regional strategy and planning director Paul Harwood said he was a “passionate believer” in Crossrail 2 and raised the question: “Do we need to think about Crossrail 3 – and beyond?” He added that rail stations just outside the centre such as Clapham Junction, Wimbledon and Vauxhall are coming under increasing pressure and will require more work to increase capacity. He raised the prospect of double deck trains to relieve overcrowding, but admitted their introduction would “represent incredible engineering challenges” such as the need for higher tunnels and bridges.

Getting more out of the exiting railway network, he added, could mean embracing digital train control systems that “might take away the need for new interventions on tracks, so we can run more trains.”

Arup’s director of smart cities and infrastructure Volker Buscher told the forum that technology is beginning to “take centre stage in city and infrastructure policy”. He pointed out that the capital currently employs 150,000 people working in technology, and “with this new digital world we can do a lot more”, using the example of applications like Uber which has revolutionised travel by taxi.

The event’s morning chairman Baroness Valentine, chief executive of London First, summed up the discussions by suggesting that London Mayoral candidates publish “digital manifestos” that relate to transportation planning in the capital.

(Photo copyright Ewen Roberts and licenced for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence)

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