Elizabeth Line extension plans east of Abbey Wood back in the spotlight

Rebecca Smith
The Elizabeth Line is due to be fully open by December 2019
The Elizabeth Line is due to be fully open by December 2019 (Source: Getty)

The £14.8bn Elizabeth Line is currently on track to be fully open by the end of next year, and the mayor is now eyeing a previously mooted extension to the railway.

Sadiq Khan has outlined in his draft London plan, setting out how he thinks the capital should look like over the coming years, that in development plans and decisions “priority should be given” to an Elizabeth Line extension east of Abbey Wood.

Other infrastructure priorities include securing Crossrail 2, the Bakerloo Line extension and river crossings.

Read more: London transport chief says Elizabeth Line delay is biggest risk facing TfL

The Crossrail project is nearing the final stages of construction and the Elizabeth Line, as it will be known when it opens through central London, will be open to the public in phases from December.

It will serve 41 stations and stretch more than 60 miles from Reading and Heathrow in the west, through tunnels in central London, to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

Crossrail 2 has been in focus as a key priority for the mayor, though an independent funding review by the Department for Transport has put plans for a consultation early this year on the backburner.

Previously, Crossrail had said an additional extension of the Elizabeth Line from Abbey Wood to Gravesend and Hoo Junction had been safeguarded, but that there were no current plans to extend the railway further than the current route.

Now, a previously discussed extension of the Elizabeth Line from Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet is back in the spotlight, with the mayor including it in his proposed list of transport schemes in the draft London plan with a timescale from 2020 to 2041.

Khan had said in his draft transport strategy last year that he would support “a government-led extension” to the Elizabeth Line.

The C2E campaign, including local councils in favour of an extension, has called for the route to continue from Abbey Wood calling at Belvedere, Erith, Slade Green, Dartford, Greenhithe, Stone Crossing, Swanscombe and then Ebbsfleet.

They say the proposed route will underpin the regeneration of 8km of Thames river-front, and help accelerate developments across Kent, while the connection from Kent to Heathrow could cut car journeys to the airport.

To progress with the extension, TfL would look to put together a business case with local authorities which would then go before government.

A spokesperson for TfL said:

TfL is working with local authorities in London and north Kent to look at options to improve transport connectivity and capacity to support the development of new homes and jobs in the area. One of these options is for an extension of Elizabeth Line services from Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet.

Read more: Revealed: The new Tube map featuring the Elizabeth Line

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