Crossrail 2 is needed to make High Speed 2 services viable in London, the capital’s deputy mayor for transport said today.
Speaking at a meeting of the London Assembly to discuss the mayor's transport strategy, Val Shawcross said of the proposed South East railway: “Not only does it wash its own face in a short period of time, but it will make High Speed 2 viable for London. As it currently stands, HS2 will generate enormous bottlenecks at Euston if it doesn’t have Crossrail 2, which is a complementary scheme in some ways to HS2.”
The £56bn HS2 railway will link the capital with Birmingham, East Midlands, Leeds and Manchester. Its phase one route will extend from a newly remodelled London Euston station.
And Transport for London’s commissioner Mike Brown added today that the key timing for Crossrail 2 was getting “the second reading of the hybrid bill within a five-year parliamentary term, because if we don’t, then we have to go back to square one again”.
“So really it is imperative that decisions are made within the next few months,” Brown said.
Crossrail 2 planners are discussing their proposals with the Department for Transport (DfT), with the DfT saying a “thorough analysis is being carried out” to ensure that it is a “robust scheme”.
The Crossrail 2 timeline would plan for Royal Assent by 2021/2022 and then start building ready to open for 2033, "just in time for HS2 Phase 2 to arrive at Euston", according to Crossrail 2’s managing director Michele Dix.
Dix has said that without the project to serve alongside HS2, many benefits gained from travelling down from the North “will be lost while you wait in a queue at Euston”.
And Shawcross said today that the push for the project’s plan to be given the go-ahead wasn’t “an either/or situation” that would mean other possible projects around the country are compromised, and instead, should be “part of a national picture of infrastructure development”.
In terms of the project's importance from the capital's perspective, Shawcross added: "This is the future growth driver of London in the 2030s."
The deputy mayor for transport also discussed the mayor's revived push for devolution on suburban rail services, saying there wasn't a faster and cheaper way of rapidly improving public transport than "making better use of the rail services, the rail track we've already got".
She said the mayor was in talks with transport secretary Chris Grayling to arrange a fresh date to discuss Sadiq Khan's ambitions for the capital's transport.