What is Crossrail 2? The route and plans for the north to south London line

·2 min read
What is Crossrail 2? The route and plans for the north to south London line

Crossrail has opened, shrinking journey times for many on London’s east-west corridor and providing much-needed capacity to the capital’s transport network.

Hordes of Londoners showed up to newly-opened stations to try out the £20bn Elizabeth line.

A similar scheme has been proposed between the north and south of London and commuter areas in Surrey and Hertfordshire called Crossrail 2.

What is Crossrail 2?

First discussed in the 1970s, Crossrail 2 is a proposed railway line linking the south-west of the capital from Clapham Junction to the north-east towards Seven Sisters.

Under the proposed route, the line would also be extended to link Surrey to Hertfordshire.

New tunnels would be created underneath the centre of the capital to accommodate the project which was previously called the ‘Chelsea–Hackney line’ in reference to a potential route.

The line, estimated to have an approximate £33bn cost, would significantly improve capacity as much of its central route would be an alternative to the crowded Victoria line, and would alleviate pressure on mainline rail routes in the South East.

Crossrail Project: Elizabeth Line - In pictures

When is it likely to be?

It had previously been hoped that work could start on Crossrail 2 in the early 2020s, with the line becoming operational in the 2030s.

But plans were officially paused as part of a Government bailout deal in November 2021, which required “an orderly end to consultancy work as soon as possible”, as TfL wrestled with its perilous finances after the Covid pandemic.

According to figures obtained by the New Civil Engineer, £115m was spent on the project before it was put on hold.

TfL have previously said the priority now is safeguarding the route so work can resume at a later date when there is sufficient funding.

How likely is it to be restarted?

Boris Johnson has given his backing (REUTERS)
Boris Johnson has given his backing (REUTERS)

Prime minister Boris Johnson - who previously proposed calling Crossrail 2 the Churchill line as Mayor of London - has recently given a declaration of support for the project.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Elizabeth line, he said: “The real thing for us now is to think about Crossrail 2, the old Chelsea-Hackney line.

“That is going to be transformative again. All the problems of commuters coming into Waterloo getting up to north London, you can fix that with another Crossrail. I think we should be getting on with that.”

However, funding for the line still remains uncertain so it is not clear when or even if it will go ahead.

TfL has warned without it, Euston station could be overwhelmed with the numbers of passengers alighting from HS2’s high-speed trains once the full network is in operation.

A planned Bakerloo line extension from Elephant and Castle towards Lewisham is also on ice over funding issues.

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