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UK Crossrail 2 attracts mass public support 11 Dec 2013
Peter Kenyon, TunnelTalk
Public support for the concept of a £12 billion plus north-south Crossrail 2 scheme for London is overwhelming, according to a report commissioned jointly by rail transport operators Network Rail and Transport for London (TfL), and the Mayor's Office.

Animated Crossrail 2 options

The report reveals that talks are already taking place between TfL's design consultants and HS2 Ltd regarding design concepts for a connection with the High Speed 2/Crossrail 1/High Speed 1 interchange at Euston/Kings Cross/ St Pancras stations.
The report says: "Mott MacDonald and Tony Meadows Associates [TfL's consultants] have extensively discussed the design concepts with HS2 Ltd and this dialogue will continue. A broad variety of options have been considered with the aim of finding a solution that serves HS2 via Euston, as well as offering an attractive travel opportunity for those using St Pancras and King's Cross stations and the surrounding area. Station options at Euston/St Pancras present a number of engineering challenges, however designs are now being refined to meet TfL aspirations and match HS2 proposals, as well as take into account stakeholder comments received as part of the 2013 consultation."
"Following this consultation, the preferred alignment can be safeguarded. If sufficient support is gained from members of the public and stakeholders, detailed engineering and environmental work will take place to inform the next stage of public consultation."
  • Fig 1. Proposed metro-only option

    Fig 1. Proposed metro-only option

  • Fig 2. Proposed regional option incorporating metro

    Fig 2. Proposed regional option incorporating metro

The report and survey, carried out by consultant Steer Davies Gleave during a consultation period earlier this year (2013), collected responses from 13,767 members of the public, as well as local councils serving the UK capital city and other interest groups.
Results show significant support for Crossrail 2, with 96% of respondents "strongly supporting" or "supporting" the general principle of a north-south link.
Presented with two specific route options (that are not finalised) - a more limited all-underground (27km-long metro option, Fig 1) route through central London between Wimbledon in the south and Alexandra Palace in the north, and a more expansive project (regional option, Fig 2) that would incorporate further onward connections to Epsom, Hampton Court and Twickenham in the south and south west and Cheshunt in the north - more favoured the expansive, and expensive, regional option.
In response to an open question five times as many respondents specifically mentioned support for the regional option as compared to the more limited metro option.
Fig 3. Support levels for metro and regional options

Fig 3. Support levels for metro and regional options

A total of 84% of respondents either "strongly supported" or "supported" the regional option, compared to 61% who felt the same way about the metro option only (Fig 3). A total of 11% of respondents "opposed" or "strongly opposed" the metro option, as presented, compared to just 6% who "opposed" or "strongly opposed" the regional option (which incorporates the metro alignment).
The report states: "More comments were made specifically in support of the regional option than for the metro option, with 250 comments and 50 comments respectively. People generally feel the regional option would be more beneficial as it serves a wider population including regions outside London which are more affordable, allowing people to buy property outside of London but still be able to work in the capital."
"Additionally, people commented that the regional option would be effective in alleviating overcrowding on regional rail services and on the underground as it reduces the need to interchange in central London, while the metro option would worsen crowding in central London particularly at its termini."
"Specific comments in support of the metro option include concern for the cost of constructing the regional option, belief that the metro option would be built more quickly and, because it is a smaller project, would be more likely to be built at all. 12% of people who made comments stating they prefer the metro option to the regional one think the regional option should be built, but as a second phase of the project."
The general route of the proposed metro alignment is already safeguarded, but the next step is to confirm and extend the corridor next year (2014). According to TfL planning work on the development of a preferred option will continue until 2015, with consultation on a preferred route starting in late 2015. A detailed engineering design and approval stage would then take place between 2016-19, with construction taking place between 2020 and 2030.
References
Final report of London First Crossrail 2 Task Force
Crossrail 2 Consultation Report

Task force identifies preferred Crossrail 2 route - TunnelTalk, February 2013
HS2 hybrid bill launched in UK - TunnelTalk, November 2013
Crossrail nears excavation half-way landmark - TunnelTalk, September 2013

           

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