Government urged to open north-south rail link in the capital by 2033

The National Infrastructure Commission has endorsed London’s Crossrail 2 project and urged Chancellor George Osborne to press on with the scheme to enable it to open in 2033.

The commission - led by Lord Adonis - said the government should take the scheme forward as a “priority” and submit a hybrid bill by autumn 2019 to hit this target open date.

The transport link would provide a new north to south central London artery that would open up new areas for housing and regeneration, the report said.

Lord Adonis said the case for Crossrail 2 is “well founded” and that it should be viewed as an “investment of national significance” due to its possible impact beyond Greater London and its importance to relieve major rail terminals such as Waterloo, Victoria, Kings Cross and St Pancras.

The report recommend four steps to develop the scheme further.

  • Identifying proposals to phase costs and increase affordability.
  • Developing a strategy to unlock significant housing growth.
  • Delivering a funding plan in which London contributes its fair share to the project.
  • Maximise private sector involvement in the development and funding of stations and their surrounding areas.

Adonis added: “By the 2030s London will be a megacity of more than 10 million people. Even allowing for planned investment and the imminent arrival of the East-West Crossrail line, the capital will grind to a halt unless significant further improvements are made.”

Crossrail 2 managing director Michèle Dix said: “We welcome the Commission’s ringing endorsement that the case for Crossrail 2 is well founded and should be taken forward as a priority.

“The report is clear that Crossrail 2 is an essential response to the challenges the region faces - and that funding must be made available now to fully develop the scheme.”

David Leam, infrastructure director at London First, commented: “Now we need the Chancellor to extend his support beyond warm words and actually write a cheque to develop the scheme further.

“The business world was a major contributor to the original Crossrail and accepts the need to contribute similarly to help Crossrail 2 get the green light.”