Crossrail has already started transforming local communities around its stations with other benefits, such as improved transport times and ease of congestion, expected to come into play once the project is finished. However, these benefits do not solve the growing problem of London’s rapidly expanding population, which in turn, will crowd an already congested transport network.
It is no wonder, with such a successful start to the Crossrail 1 project, that a second stage of construction, Crossrail 2, has been deemed necessary for the future success of London’s transport services in this regard. Crossrail 2 is a proposed rail route in South East England, running from nine stations in Surrey to three in Hertfordshire, providing a new rail link across London on the Crossrail network. It will serve stations throughout the South East, linking South West and North East London, as well as destinations into Surrey and Hertfordshire.
The Office for National Statistics predicts that the population of the UK will increase by 9.7 million in the next 25 years, with 2.5 million in London alone. Lord Adonis, the Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, stated that London will ‘grind to a halt’ if no action is taken in response to the predicted population growth in the capital. Not only is this a problem for London’s transport services, but it strains London’s economic growth with the need for additional housing and employment.
Fortunately, the £27 billion Crossrail 2 plans have recently been approved. Providing similar benefits to its predecessor, The Elizabeth Line, Crossrail 2 will reduce journey times and increase house prices across London and support the demand of London’s growth. The second part of the Crossrail project is expected to create an additional 200,000 jobs as well as support the construction of over 200,000 new homes, significantly more than Crossrail 1.
The Elizabeth Line cuts through London from east to west, whereas Crossrail 2 drives from south to north. Although both projects accrue a total cost of £41.5 billion, when combined, they will provide complete coverage and rejuvenation of London’s transport network. According to The 2014 Crossrail Fund report, ‘the costs are outweighed by the benefits, with a benefit to cost ratio (BCR) of 1.8:1, rising to 4.1:1 if wider economic benefits are taken into account.’
Two of the areas surrounding the proposed Crossrail 2 project are Wimbledon and Tottenham Hale, both of which are expected to experience these ‘wider benefits’ as they will no longer be difficult to reach from other London stations.
According to a 2015 Knight Frank report, average house prices in Wimbledon saw a 38.99% increase to around £705,565 after the Crossrail 2 project had been proposed. Similarly, in other areas such as Tottenham Hale, average house prices increased by 42.06%, with Clapham Junction seeing slightly less of an increase of 32.5%. Along with Wimbledon and Tottenham Hale, other areas are sure to reap the benefits of the Crossrail 2 project developments and it is clear that the benefits and necessity for a solution to London’s ever-growing population firmly outweighs the cost.