Local council has been asked to safeguard land in case of lengthening of rail route

A council in Kent has welcomed proposals for the £16bn Crossrail train link to be extended to the north of the county.

Under current plans, the 74-mile rail network will run from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

But Gravesham Council has been asked by the Department for Transport to safeguard land as far as Denton in Gravesend to allow the route to be lengthened.

It is thought papers for a meeting on Monday recommended council members back the idea as long as it did not affect other transport initiatives in the area.

A Crossrail spokesperson said: “The Crossrail Act provides for a railway terminating at Abbey Wood in south-east London. This does not preclude a later extension further east into Kent, and land has been safeguarded to prepare for this eventuality.

“Approval for the necessary works could be obtained through normal process such as an order under the Transport and Works Act.”

A consultation on the issue is currently underway and closes on 19 December.