Crossrail 2 is vital if we are to support the predicted 10 million people that are expected to be living in London by 2031.
Transport for London (TfL) and Network Rail have today published the findings of the Crossrail 2 non-statutory public consultation, which shows overwhelming support for the proposed new rail link between south west and north east London.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who believes this project is critical to boosting capacity on the suburban rail network and to galvanise economic growth in this part of the Capital, has welcomed the results, which shows 95 per cent of almost 14,000 respondents 'strongly supporting' or 'supporting' the principle of the scheme.
Even with the Tube upgrade works and the delivery of Crossrail 1, additional capacity on the transport network is needed to cope with London's forecasted population growth.
Crossrail 2 would create a new high frequency, high capacity rail line with shorter journey times between southwest and northeast London.
It would help to relieve congestion on busy main line routes into central London and on the Underground network, while allowing communities around London to benefit from the creation of new jobs and new homes.
The project, which was given a boost in the summer when the Chancellor George Osborne announced the Government would pay £2m for a feasibility study into the high capacity rail project, could see trains running at a rate of between 30 to 40 trains an hour.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: 'This consultation reveals that there's a very clear stamp of approval for Crossrail 2 from Londoners and from business. People can clearly see the immense value of a project that will relieve pressure on suburban rail routes and on the Underground, as well as helping to spur economic growth in a key quadrant of the Capital.
'In addition, if HS2 goes ahead, Crossrail 2 would provide a vital interchange at Euston which would be under significant strain from greater passenger numbers. The key question now is not whether Crossrail 2 should happen, but how quickly can we get it built.'
TfL's Managing Director of Planning, Michele Dix, said: 'Crossrail 2 is vital if we are to support the predicted 10 million people that are expected to be living in London by 2031. The positive response we have received from the public and stakeholders for Crossrail 2 is really encouraging - it could be operational in 2030 but it is essential that work continues now to meet this target.'
Paul Plummer, Network Rail Group Strategy Director, said: 'London's railways are already the busiest and most congested in the country, with many main lines operating at, or close to, capacity. Projects like Thameslink and Crossrail will make a real difference but we must also press on with schemes such as Crossrail 2 so that public transport continues to support and drive economic growth in and around the Capital.'
'Regional option'Eighty-four per cent of respondents strongly support or support a 'regional option' which could benefit people in London Hertfordshire, Surrey and beyond by enabling more trains to run on busy National Rail routes. This route could be a combined underground and overground railway and could operate from Alexandra Palace and stations in Hertfordshire to various locations in south west London and Surrey. It would act as a further stimulus to development, particularly around the Upper Lea Valley, supporting more jobs and homes. It could also enable improved services to Stansted.
A 'metro option' which could offer a high frequency underground service across central London was strongly supported or supported by 73 per cent of respondents.
This option could be an underground railway and could operate between Wimbledon and Alexandra Palace.
The route would relieve congestion on trains and platforms on the Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria lines and would help open up development opportunities along the route.
A route for Crossrail 2, formerly known as the Chelsea-Hackney Line, has been kept free from any intrusive building development since 1991 and any new buildings along the route have been constructed to allow for a potential new railway line.
TfL has reviewed this safeguarded route and has proposed that the two alternatives which were consulted on, a Metro option and a Regional option, would better meet the rail needs of the capital in the future.
Both options do use parts of the original safeguarded route.
In May 2013 the Mayor, TfL and Network Rail launched the first phase of a public consultation on the proposed routes for Crossrail 2.
The consultation closed on 2 August 2013 and almost 14,000 responses were received in total.
The findings are now available online at http://www.crossrail2.co.uk.
TfL and Network Rail will together consider the Crossrail 2 consultation findings and will make recommendations on the next steps to the Mayor of London in spring 2014.
If a decision is taken to progress, more detailed consultations would then take place.