CROSSRAIL 2 – NECESSARY OR NECESSITY?
Since construction began in 2009, it would be fair to say that the hype and excitement that surrounded the Elizabeth Line during its construction phases has all but disappeared. It’s no surprise that recent economic uncertainties, such as Brexit, have shifted the focus from London and its infrastructure transformation to the stability of the wider UK as a whole. Perhaps it’s been overlooked but since Crossrail was given the go ahead, it has added an estimated £5.5 billion to property values in its surrounding areas – something that surely makes Crossrail 2 a favourable proposal.
What is Crossrail 2?
Crossrail 2 is a proposed railway linking the national rail networks in Surrey and Hertfordshire via an underground tunnel through London. The new railway would stop at key locations throughout the city centre, including Tottenham Court Road, Euston St. Pancras, Victoria, Clapham Junction and Wimbledon.
With an anticipated completion date of 2033 and a budget of circa £27 billion, Crossrail 2 is expected to relieve overcrowding on the Victoria, Piccadilly, Northern, Central and District Lines while offering commuters numerous alternatives to their everyday working commute. A project of this scale would surely enhance the effects of the Elizabeth Line in terms of reducing congestion and ultimately increase the potential for investment in surrounding areas where property prices are expected to rise.
Speculators of the sequel are already getting in on the action– or at least buying into the noise and momentum that occurs before a financial and political commitment is made. “With all the noise surrounding Brexit you would be forgiven for thinking that London is teetering on the edge of economic purgatory, and of being cut off from the supply of cautious global capital. The reality is altogether different. London is still a global gateway attracting major amounts of capital to stable, long-term growth investments.” (James Beckham, Head of Central London Investment, CBRE)
Crossrail 2 In Numbers
- Enable the development of 200,000 new homes across the region.
- Support 60,000 new jobs across the UK supply chain.
- Support 200,000 new jobs.
- Increase London’s rail capacity by 10%.
- Provide up to 30 trains per hour to destinations across London, Hertfordshire and Surrey.
- Bring 800 stations across the UK within one interchange.
- Provide additional capacity for up to 270,000 more people to travel into London during peak periods, relieving congestion and overcrowding on Tube and regional rail services.
These are all positive signs for homeowners who live along the proposed route, which is expected to connect the National Rail networks in Surrey and Hertfordshire via new tunnels and stations between Wimbledon, Tottenham Hale and New Southgate. It will also link up to the London Underground, Overground and Crossrail 1, creating a much more accessible transport system.
The Real Problem
Recent articles that mention overspending and the effects of Brexit on projects such as Crossrail, are likely to be of a lesser concern for the promoters of Crossrail 2, due to the immediate problem of London’s increasing population, which, according to the ONS, is expected to increase 14% to 10.1 million by 2036. This startling statistic shows just how desperate London is for additional transport support, especially with an already overcrowded infrastructure. Johnny Morris, Head of Research at Countrywide, states that “When Crossrail 2 eventually gets going, its impact will be huge”. “It goes through areas that aren’t currently well connected and in Zone 3, particularly, established but hard-to-get-to places like Totting Broadway and Wimbledon will see a good jump in house prices. But the reality is that all of the areas with Crossrail 2 stations will benefit.”
Although nothing has yet been finalised, Crossrail 2 has been identified as a necessity for the future success of London’s transport infrastructure, as well as other major transport projects in the UK, such as HS2 and HS3 (Northern Powerhouse Rail). It will help to ease current congestion by providing additional connections, as well as reducing journey times to and from London. This surely means that it is no longer a question of if Crossrail 2 comes to fruition, but when.