May the Elizabeth line be prolonged into Kent? London councils name for £3.2BILLION funding to increase beleaguered path to Ebbsfleet… however how WILL they pay for it?

Plans for an Elizabeth line extension additional into South East London and Kent acquired contemporary backing from councils regardless of questions over the large £3.2billion price.

Transport for London (TfL) has been wanting into an enlargement eastwards past Abbey Wooden to hyperlink up with the Southeastern Excessive Velocity 1 route at Ebbsfleet.

This might additionally allow the Elizabeth line, which opened in Might 2022 at a value of £19billion, to hyperlink up with Eurostar providers at Ebbsfleet in the direction of Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam ought to they recommence having been paused in the course of the pandemic.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is thought to be supportive of the thought in precept, however the primary problem is the foremost funding required to improve the railway east of Abbey Wooden.

TfL has additionally checked out two upgrades on the western part – linking Heathrow to Langley on the proposed Western Rail Hyperlink, and to Staines on the Southern Rail Hyperlink.

Planners are additionally contemplating how the HS2 station at Outdated Oak Widespread will impression the road, with a brand new hub now being constructed to attach passengers with Central London.

The Elizabeth line has had a bumpy experience since opening, with 350million passenger journeys made to this point on a service which has sped up journey in London – however common delays and infrastructure points which have seen trains stranded and plans ruined. 

Early proposals for Crossrail had included it going to Gravesend, however this was reduce within the Nineties, earlier than a evaluate in 2004 advisable ending it at Abbey Wooden. Some provision was nonetheless included within the designs to construct an extension in a while. 

OPTION 1 — The primary possibility within the newest session is for an Elizabeth line extension from Abbey Wooden to Northfleet/Ebbsfleet and Gravesend, sharing current tracks with Nationwide Rail

OPTION 2 -- The second option would see an Elizabeth line extension from Abbey Wood to Dartford, using new dedicated tracks built adjacent to the existing North Kent Line

OPTION 2 — The second possibility would see an Elizabeth line extension from Abbey Wooden to Dartford, utilizing new devoted tracks constructed adjoining to the prevailing North Kent Line

OPTION 3 -- The third option would not involve an Elizabeth line track extension, but instead improve National Rail service frequency between Abbey Wood and Northfleet - combined with a new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service running between Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet

OPTION 3 — The third possibility wouldn’t contain an Elizabeth line monitor extension, however as a substitute enhance Nationwide Rail service frequency between Abbey Wooden and Northfleet – mixed with a brand new Bus Fast Transit (BRT) service operating between Abbey Wooden to Ebbsfleet

The Elizabeth line runs from Reading/Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood

The Elizabeth line runs from Studying/Heathrow within the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wooden

Now, councils that are a part of lobbying group Native London have commissioned a evaluate of 13 transport choices together with the Elizabeth line extension to Ebbsfleet in an try to push them ahead.

From Cross London Rail Hyperlinks to Crossrail: A 22-year timeline of the capital’s Elizabeth line 

London’s Crossrail mission has suffered quite a few setbacks over the previous 20 years, as follows:

January 2002: Cross London Rail Hyperlinks Ltd, a three way partnership between the Strategic Rail Authority and Transport for London (TfL), is about as much as develop plans for Crossrail.

July 2004: The Authorities commits to introducing laws to allow Crossrail to proceed.

October 2007: Prime Minister Gordon Brown provides the inexperienced mild for the mission. It’s anticipated to price £15.9 billion and open in December 2017.

Might 2009: London Mayor Boris Johnson and Transport Secretary Lord Adonis break floor on the mission at Canary Wharf.

October 2010: Crossrail’s funds is lower to £14.8 billion within the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition authorities’s complete spending evaluate. Its opening date is pushed again 12 months to December 2018.

January 2014: The Nationwide Audit Workplace says the scheme is ‘simply not on time’, including that Crossrail Ltd ‘stays assured’ it would open on time.

Might 2015: Tunnel boring is accomplished as a tunnelling machine named Victoria arrives at Farringdon. Some 13 miles of recent tunnels have been dug underneath London.

February 2016: The Queen visits Bond Avenue station and publicizes the railway will likely be named the Elizabeth line in her honour.

July 2018: Rail minister Jo Johnson publicizes that Crossrail’s funds has risen to £15.4billion as ‘price pressures have elevated throughout the mission’.

August 2018: Crossrail Ltd publicizes it would miss its December 2018 opening date however the central part ‘will open in autumn 2019’. The mission is affected by building delays and difficulties putting in advanced signalling methods.

December 2018: TfL says Crossrail could also be delayed additional and will require a £2billion funding increase, taking the associated fee as much as £17.6billion. The Authorities, TfL and London Mayor Sadiq Khan agree a monetary bundle.

December 2018: Sir Terry Morgan resigns as chairman of Crossrail Ltd and HS2, days after predicting he could be sacked. He’s changed at Crossrail by London Underground managing director Mark Wild.

April 2019: A ‘supply window’ between October 2020 and March 2021 is introduced for the central part of Crossrail.

November 2019: Crossrail Ltd publicizes that the railway will open ‘as quickly as virtually potential in 2021’. The price has elevated by as much as £650 million to £18.25billion.

January 2020: The ‘newest evaluation’ is that providers will begin in summer time 2021.

July 2020: Crossrail Ltd says the railway is not going to open in summer time 2021 due to delays brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. It doesn’t give an up to date schedule.

August 2020: It’s introduced that the road will open within the first half of 2022.

July 2021: The Nationwide Audit Workplace says the estimated complete price of Crossrail is £18.9billion.

Might 17, 2022: The Queen and Prime Minister Boris Johnson go to Paddington station to rejoice the completion of Crossrail.

Might 24, 2022 : Elizabeth line providers are launched in three sections. The road has providers on Monday to Saturday from Paddington to Abbey Wooden. Providers from Studying and Heathrow to Paddington, and from Shenfield to Liverpool Avenue, are rebranded from ‘TfL Rail’ to the ‘Elizabeth line’.

November 6, 2022: The three sections are built-in. Providers from Studying and Heathrow now function by to Abbey Wooden. Providers from Shenfield undergo to Paddington.

Might 21, 2023: The complete timetable of as much as 24 trains per hour is launched, with direct trains from Shenfield to Heathrow for the primary time – however not from Shenfield to Studying.

Might 24, 2024: On its two-year anniversary, TfL says 350million passenger journeys have been made.

The native authorities – Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, Bromley, Enfield, Greenwich, Havering, Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest – declare funding in transport infrastructure of their areas of London has not stored tempo with ‘vital demographic change and inhabitants development, out-stripping nationwide and London averages’.

And the group has now commissioned financial and social analysis consultancy Eksogen to analyse the impression of investing within the Elizabeth line extension within the nine-borough area.

The Marketing campaign for Higher Transport is among the many teams backing the plans. Its spokesman Michael Solomon Williams instructed MailOnline at this time: ‘The financial and environmental case for investing in rail is robust, particularly on this main development area which has suffered from inadequate community protection for too lengthy. Simply this week the Elizabeth line has introduced that it has doubled its return on funding in two years.

‘Extending it could carry trendy, sustainable journey to the area, in addition to supporting the case for reopening Ebbsfleet Worldwide – a lot wanted for worldwide rail development – and for the proposed tram community between Kent and Essex.’

And Thomas Turrell, the Conservative London Meeting Member for Bexley and Bromley, instructed MailOnline: ‘Cities are constructed on their transport networks which is why we have to bold. 

‘I totally help extending the Elizabeth line to Ebbsfleet through Erith. Such an extension could be an actual shot within the arm for the native financial system.

‘It could create much more jobs and alternatives throughout the north of Bexley in addition to offering native commuters with a quicker, extra dependable route into Central London. It could additionally present a direct connection between Ebbsfleet and Heathrow.’

It comes after an off-the-cuff group of authorities referred to as the Crossrail to Ebbsfleet (C2E) Partnership was fashioned in 2016 to advertise extending the Elizabeth line in the direction of Ebbsfleet.

Shortly after, it acquired help from Nationwide Infrastructure Fee chairman Sir John Armitt and the Authorities dedicated £4.85million for a research into choices for the route.

An ‘Abbey Wooden to Ebbsfleet Connectivity Research’ was later accomplished and the outcomes thought-about by C2E, which has since launched one other session on a refined shortlist of choices.

Mr Khan has already set out help for a ‘Authorities-led extension’ to the road and has included the Ebbsfleet enlargement in his transport technique.

And the route to increase Elizabeth line providers from Abbey Wooden to Hoo Junction in Kent, situated simply east of Gravesend, was safeguarded as a part of the Crossrail Invoice. 

Native London stated a enterprise case is now with the Authorities and C2E is awaiting suggestions, though the partnership continues to be making the case significantly within the mild of the success of the present Elizabeth line by way of excessive demand.

The proposal was initially costed at £1.5billion, however the latest estimate is between £2.6billion and £3.2billion.

This might be the funds for a plan that sees eight of the 12 Elizabeth line providers per hour that terminate at Abbey Wooden being prolonged eastwards, sharing the prevailing North Kent line tracks with Southeastern and Thameslink providers.

Of the eight trains per hour, 4 would terminate at Northfleet, with the remaining 4 persevering with to Gravesend.

The Elizabeth line trains would cease in any respect the stations on the North Kent line between Abbey Wooden and Gravesend.

The choice would require adjustments to current Southeastern providers, and the development of some sections of additional monitor and junction works inside the current rail hall.

There would additionally must be main works at Abbey Wooden, Slade Inexperienced and Dartford stations and extra land could be wanted to accommodate extra practice stabling.

In June 2022, transport physique Transport for the South East outlined the way it might collect £3.2billion of funding to construct the extension to Ebbsfleet and past to Gravesend.

Nice British Railways, the proposed state-owned public physique, must conform to be the primary supply associate for the scheme. Cash would even be wanted from Authorities funding from broader programmes such because the Housing Infrastructure Fund.

As well as money would even be wanted from the Mayor, the Better London Authority and TfL – which might show to be a significant stumbling block given latest strain on the organisation’s funds.

Native contributions would even be required from authorities inside the C2E.

An Elizabeth line train at Abbey Wood station on the first day of operation in May 2022

An Elizabeth line practice at Abbey Wooden station on the primary day of operation in Might 2022

There are plans to extend the Elizabeth line eastwards towards Ebbsfleet International station

There are plans to increase the Elizabeth line eastwards in the direction of Ebbsfleet Worldwide station

Eurostar trains stopped at Ebbsfleet International station until 2020 when they were paused

Eurostar trains stopped at Ebbsfleet Worldwide station till 2020 after they have been paused

However there was a setback after the troubled London Resort theme park mission was mothballed in March 2022, as a result of it was hoped that the builders might have additionally acquired concerned.

The 13 transport choices in South East London to be reviewed 

The 13 transport choices which will likely be reviewed after a fee by lobbying group Native London are:

  • A13 and South Barking enhancements
  • Bakerloo Line extension
  • Beam Park
  • Elizabeth line to Ebbsfleet
  • Enfield to Liverpool Avenue Overground
  • Decrease Thames Crossing
  • River Roding Crossing
  • Stratford Worldwide
  • Stratford station
  • Thames ferry crossings
  • Thames piers and wharves improvement (together with river bus choices)
  • Thamesmead and Beckton Riverside Public Transport Programme (together with DLR extension to Belvedere)
  • Walthamstow Central

The hope now’s that the extension will make it a lot simpler and faster for individuals in South East London and Kent to journey inside the space or to succeed in Central London and Heathrow.

Southeastern at present gives most rail providers on the North Kent strains into London, with providers into London Bridge, Charing Cross, Cannon Avenue, and Victoria.

Thameslink additionally serves the world with trains working by Central London from Rainham to Luton.

As for the Elizabeth line, the community has been a significant success for TfL with greater than 350million journeys made on its trains for the reason that first service ran on Might 24, 2022 – and demand already above post-pandemic expectations.

Nevertheless it has been a troubled improvement at instances. Earlier than it even launched in Might 2022, the Crossrail mission suffered quite a few points together with building difficulties and issues putting in signalling methods which delayed the opening a number of instances.

This was a lot to the frustration of many householders shopping for properties alongside the route in the course of the building interval within the hope of getting a better commute.

In 2007, the road was given a gap date of December 2017, and set a funds of £14.8billion in 2010.

However the estimated ultimate price was £18.9billion, together with £5.1billion from the Authorities – making it greater than £4billion over funds.

In 2010, the opening was pushed again by a yr to happen in December 2018 – however simply 4 months earlier than this date, in August 2018, it was introduced that the road would the truth is not open on time.

4 years later the Elizabeth line did finally open in Might 2022 – however solely in three sections, with providers on the brand new half from Paddington to Abbey Wooden.

Passengers walk along the tracks after being let off an Elizabeth line train last December on which they were stranded for four hours following overhead cable issues outside Paddington

Passengers stroll alongside the tracks after being let off an Elizabeth line practice final December on which they have been stranded for 4 hours following overhead cable points outdoors Paddington

People step onto the tracks near Paddington after being stranded on a train last December

Individuals step onto the tracks close to Paddington after being stranded on a practice final December

Present providers from Studying and Heathrow to Paddington, and from Shenfield to Liverpool Avenue, have been additionally rebranded from ‘TfL Rail’ to the ‘Elizabeth line’ at this level.

The grand opening was lengthy awaited, and its first service from Paddington noticed worldwide rail lovers travelling to the capital and queueing for greater than six hours to get on board – with Mr Khan pictured hugging TfL officers in delight.

Nonetheless the primary day was additionally blighted by a hearth alarm being activated which noticed Paddington evacuated.

The road initially opened in three sections – from Studying/Heathrow to Paddington, Liverpool Avenue to Shenfield and the brand new Paddington to Abbey Wooden half.

Then in November 2022, the second stage started which noticed by trains begin operating from Studying and Heathrow to Abbey Wooden; and Shenfield to Paddington.

The ultimate stage from Might 2023 noticed providers begin operating from Shenfield to Heathrow, in addition to the prevailing Studying and Heathrow to Abbey Wooden providing.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan poses for a selfie on the first Elizabeth line train on May 24, 2022

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan poses for a selfie on the primary Elizabeth line practice on Might 24, 2022

People queue for the Elizabeth line at Paddington station before the first train on May 24, 2022

Individuals queue for the Elizabeth line at Paddington station earlier than the primary practice on Might 24, 2022

The Elizabeth line noticed greater than 150million passenger journeys throughout its first full yr of operation, then this rose considerably to 210million in 2023/14 – and the road now has about 700,000 passenger journeys each weekday.

The busiest day to this point was recorded on April 18, 2024 with 787,000 journeys – and the busiest station is Tottenham Court docket Highway, adopted by Liverpool Avenue.

Nonetheless the road has additionally suffered from main infrastructure issues and practice faults, which peaked in December final yr when commuters have been trapped at the hours of darkness for 4 hours on a practice outdoors Paddington.

Two individuals have been injured and passengers needed to stroll down freezing tracks at the hours of darkness amid the chaos following harm to overhead cables.

However there was a notable decline in issues in latest months after Community Rail launched a significant mission to give attention to repairing points within the western part.

And TfL bosses will likely be hoping upcoming information from the Workplace of Rail and Highway will affirm an enchancment in punctuality.

The first passengers for the Elizabeth line at Paddington go down an escalator on May 24, 2022

The primary passengers for the Elizabeth line at Paddington go down an escalator on Might 24, 2022

Now, the link-up between Native London and Eksogen will even see a complete of 13 transport tasks studied, together with the Elizabeth line extension.

Additional prompt enhancements embrace the event of Thames piers and wharves, the proposed Bakerloo line extension, Stratford Worldwide station and the Decrease Thames Crossing.

Baroness O’Neill of Bexley, chairman of Native London and chief of the London Borough of Bexley, stated: ‘Because the quickest rising a part of London, we want funding in transport infrastructure to make sure residents can entry work, training and leisure actions simply.

‘Ekosgen’s analysis will quantify the financial development, housing and job provide advantages of investing in transport, and determine projected transport wants of this fast-growing a part of London. That is about guaranteeing inclusive and sustainable development throughout our boroughs now and sooner or later.’

Margaret Collins of Ekosgen added: ‘We’re delighted to be working with Native London on this fee. This is a crucial piece of labor which is able to assist to drive financial development throughout this sub-region.

‘The work builds on latest research carried out throughout the nation to assist safe funding in locations, and our native monitor document on this a part of London.’

A Authorities supply instructed MailOnline at this time TfL is devolved and it’s subsequently for Mr Khan to ship providers within the capital. 

The Division for Transport and TfL each declined to remark. 

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