London mayor Sadiq Khan includes West London Orbital rail line in transport plans

 
Rebecca Smith
Khan wants to make the capital a zero-emission city
Khan wants to make the capital a zero-emission city (Source: Getty)

London mayor Sadiq Khan said today his revised transport strategy for the capital over the next 25 years now includes plans for a West London Orbital rail line that would connect Hounslow with Cricklewood and Hendon.

The potential line would go via Old Oak, Neasden and Brent Cross, and would be delivered through Transport for London, the West London Alliance boroughs and Network Rail, with the mayor saying it could potentially support the delivery of another 20,000 homes.

The updated strategy also includes a specific proposal to work with the London boroughs of Merton and Sutton to develop the proposed Sutton Tram extension.

Read more: TfL facing £1bn operational deficit as revenue raising efforts suffer blow

Khan's plans include commitments to significant transport schemes including the Northern Line extension, Crossrail 2, the Bakerloo Line extension and the Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf crossing.

He has also pledged "record-breaking investment" across the entire Tube network, despite the financial stretch facing the capital's transport body as it deals with both the loss of government funding and an unexpected fall in passenger numbers. It expects a widening deficit next year, that it aims to turn into an operating surplus by 2021.

The fall in passenger numbers - with the Tube the only part of the network making a profit - has led to Tube upgrades on the Jubilee and Northern Lines being shelved.

Khan said:

I’ve been clear that we need to be bold in how our city operates as London’s population grows, and this means not only investing record amounts in new infrastructure like extensions to the tube, rail and Crossrail 2, but working with boroughs and local communities to reduce our reliance on car use across London.

With our unprecedented focus on walking, cycling and clean public transport, our ambitious transport strategy can act as a crucial driver for new homes and jobs, but also improve quality of life for everyone living in London.

The mayor's emphasis on "forging ahead" with Crossrail 2 too, comes after further setbacks as the government wants an independent financing and funding review to be carried out - delaying plans for a consultation on the route sought at the beginning of this year.

More than 6,600 responses were received on last year's consultation on the mayor's draft transport strategy, and it will now be formally submitted to the London Assembly for consideration.

However, Keith Prince, a Conservative London Assembly member and chair of its Transport Committee, criticised the lack of detail in the revised strategy.

He said:

As a Committee we have been crying out for some real detail in the mayor’s transport strategy and sadly, there’s nothing new in today’s revised document.

The target for 80 per cent of journeys to be undertaken by walking, cycling or public transport by 2041 is all well and good – but we called for the overall target to be broken down by mode.

"The mayor has added a reference in the new version to the anticipated mode share breakdown in 2041, but this is far too vague. According to the mayor’s projections, the mode share of walking and cycling will increase by somewhere between 11 per cent and 48 per cent. This isn’t a meaningful target," Prince added.

Read more: New Crossrail 2 delays could jeopardise plans for the £31bn project's route

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