Crossrail 2 could be derailed by the General Election as approval is left to next government

Rebecca Smith
Crossrail is currently on time and on budget - it will be fully open by the end of 2019
Crossrail is currently on time and on budget - it will be fully open by the end of 2019 (Source: Getty)

The future of Crossrail 2 could be pushed off track by the General Election, as the government does not intend to give the £30bn project's business case the go-ahead by the end of this month.

The Conservatives also left out any mention of a commitment to the project in today's manifesto.

Crossrail 2 boss Michele Dix said last month that she wanted a decision by the end of May “at the latest” on the business case and funding plan submitted by Transport for London (TfL) in March.

But the Department for Transport (DfT) will leave the matter for the next government to consider and then make the decision.

Concerns have been raised that that the General Election could derail the approval process, which in turn could have a knock-on effect on the project’s timeline.

Read more: Crossrail 2 expects government decision to keep project on track next month

Last week, William Jackson, a development consultant at Crossrail 2, told the BCO Conference that approval on the business case was now unlikely to be approved until the autumn.

Construction magazine Building reported Jackson calling the General Election “a bit of a blow” for Crossrail 2’s immediate progression.

“So the approval of the [business case] is likely to be either in the autumn of this year or January of next year. So it’s been delayed by the General Election,” he said.

A TfL spokesperson said:

The business case for Crossrail 2 is currently with the Department for Transport for consideration.‎ We remain committed to consulting on revised proposals for the railway at the earliest possible time, and to a hybrid bill in the new parliamentary term.

They added: "Crossrail 2 is vital to the whole South East and will have significant economic benefits right across the country. Infrastructure investment in key projects nationwide will help deliver a successful post-Brexit economy. We would like to see all political parties include Crossrail 2 in their manifesto and to make delivering it as quickly as possible a key priority for the next government."

If given the go-ahead, the Crossrail 2 team will prepare for a hybrid bill, with the original plan to submit that to parliament by the autumn of 2019.

The timeline plans for Royal Assent by 2021/2022 and would then start building ready to open for 2033, "just in time for HS2 Phase 2 to arrive at Euston", according to Dix. She wants Crossrail 2 to tie in with HS2 so the full benefits of both can be realised.

“Without Crossrail 2 at Euston, quite a few of the benefits gained from travelling down from the North will be lost while you wait in a queue at Euston,” Dix said at a London Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) policy meeting in April.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats have said in their manifestos that they will give Crossrail 2 the go-ahead, but the Conservatives did not mention it at all.

Richard Garner, head of the commercial agency at property consultancy Daniel Watney LLP, said:

The Conservatives’ dropped commitment to Crossrail 2 in their manifesto is hugely disappointing, as the business case is clear that it would complement a planned HS3 high-speed northern link in bringing much needed connectivity to key office markets across the UK.

At a time of profound economic uncertainty, any delay to major projects such as this will only undermine long-term confidence in the London and regional office markets.

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