The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has announced the creation of the Crossrail 2 Growth Commission, and the appointment of Sir Merrick Cockell as the commission’s chairman, while a group of UK business leaders has called on the government to back the scheme.
With the original Crossrail project – a major upgrade of London’s railway system running east to west, which became Europe’s largest construction project – almost finished, proposals have been put forward for a second scheme to run north-south.
Johnson said, “Crossrail 2 will help realise London’s full economic potential, increasing the nation’s productivity and creating thousands of new jobs and homes.
“Major projects take time to plan and prepare, and with Crossrail 1 nearing completion, we must move quickly to the next transformational growth project which could see even more benefits delivered.”
Meanwhile, an open letter to the Times newspaper was signed by a group of business leaders and highlighted the importance of the new railway to the UK economy. The letter called on the government to use the current Comprehensive Spending Review to provide the development funding needed to start building Crossrail 2 early in the next decade.
The Mayor’s office said the establishment of the Growth Commission at this early stage of the development of Crossrail 2 would ensure that plans for local development could be aligned with the route of the railway, and that any changes to the project could be made without significant abortive costs. The Commission will report in the spring of 2016.
Sir Merrick Cockell said, “This new railway is imperative to the future growth of the capital and across the UK, and the Growth Commission will play a key role in helping ensure local development plans along the route meet their full potential.”
The new high frequency, high capacity rail line is designed to address capacity constraints as well as providing new connections across the capital, supporting the UK’s single largest employment area.
The new rail line is designed to create additional capacity, transporting up to 270,000 people into central London in the morning peak, and to relieve congestion across the existing rail network by running services through a new tunnel under London.
A public consultation will begin in the autumn, providing more information on the scheme, including locations for work sites and station entrances.