This is the final post in a series about Crossrail 2. The last post identified four small change to the proposed scheme. This post has my full alternative proposal to address the flaws previously identified.
Overview - The Crossrail 2 "Wink" option
This proposal is a direct alternative to the TfL Crossrail 2 regional option. It comes in two parts, SwiftLink and PalaceLink, together known as the "Wink" option for Crossrail 2. (The "wink" name comes from the two lines together having roughly the shape of an eye in central London).
The TfL Regional option is costed at £12bn. Through careful routing and planning, the combined SwiftLink and PalaceLink is costed at just £12.9bn.
In other words for just £900m more, London can have two new lines, not one.
To emphasise one key point - the concept is to build both new lines, not just to build one. The costings assume shared project management and construction.
Map of the proposal. Click to view in Google Maps.
SwiftLink - Wimbledon to Canary Wharf
The SwiftLink proposal is focussed on South West London. It provides a direct service from Clapham Junction and beyond to the City and Canary Wharf where the majority of South West Londoners work. This direct link greatly enhances the benefits of Crossrail 2 to South West London.
The SwiftLink route is a simple variation on the TfL proposal:
- Wimbledon (and destinations beyond)
- Earlsfield (serving Tooting Broadway is possible but is expensive)
- Clapham Junction
- Battersea Power station (serving Chelsea is possible but is expensive)
- Tottenham Court Road (double ended to Shaftesbury Avenue)
- Euston and St.Pancras (double ended between the stations)
- Angel (double ended to City Road)
- Old Street and Shoreditch High Street (double ended between the stations)
- Whitechapel (interchange with Crossrail 1)
- Canary Wharf (Crossrail 1 tracks)
- Custom House (Crossrail 1 tracks)
- Woolwich (Crossrail 1 tracks)
- Abbey Wood (Crossrail 1 tracks)
As indicated above, the SwiftLink scheme can adapt to the choices made South West of Victoria - Chelsea vs Battersea Power station, and Tooting vs Earlsfield. It retains the primary route through the West End from Victoria to Angel, simplifying comparisons. The Green Park proposal is compatible and beneficial to both schemes at extra cost, so not discussed in detail here. Thus, the main difference is East of Angel.
By turning East at Angel, the route provides a direct connection to the Northern City (where there is significant growth due to Tech City). It provides a connection to Crossrail 1, which would ideally be cross-platform. It then takes over the route to Canary Wharf entirely - Crossrail 1 services from Abbey Wood would run to Wimbledon instead of Paddington.
For those along the Crossrail 1 Canary Wharf and Abbey Wood branch SwiftLink has the following impact:
- Over double the number of trains, from 12tph on Crossrail 1 to 30tph
- Two minutes longer journey time to Tottenham Court Road, but two minutes less waiting time, thus overall neutral
- Different selection of direct services, with all other destinations involving a simple change at Whitechapel
- Greater reliability, as no interworking with the Stratford branch
- Less overcrowding, as Crossrail 1 is predicted to be very busy on the Canary Wharf branch
For those along the Crossrail 1 Stratford branch SwiftLink has the following impact:
- Double the number of trains, from 12tph on Crossrail 1 to 24tph
- No changes to the Crossrail 1 destinations
- Additional destination options via a simple change at Whitechapel
- Less overcrowding, as Crossrail 1 is predicted to be very busy on the Stratford branch
- No need for any "residual" services into Liverpool Street main line station
- The potential to use the extra services to add a branch to Barking via Woodgrange Park (other options available)
For those along the South West Main Line slow lines SwiftLink has the following impact:
- Increased frequency, from 18tph to 30tph (as per the TfL scheme)
- Direct service to most major job markets, Victoria, the West End, the City and Canary Wharf
- Simple change to reach Stratford
- Cross-platform change to reach Waterloo at Wimbledon, greatly reducing the potential for negative political campaigns
SwiftLink has some large potential journey time savings:
|Estimated journey times|
|Journey*||Now (off-peak, TfL website)||With SwiftLink||Saving|
|Wimbldon to Victoria||22||13||9|
|Wimbldon to Tottenham Court Road||33||15||18|
|Wimbldon to Euston||31||17||14|
|Wimbldon to Old St/Shoreditch||39||21||18|
|Wimbldon to Canary Wharf||39||27||12|
|Wimbldon to Stratford||45||28||17|
|Wimbldon to Hoxton||46||25||21|
|Wimbldon to Woolwich||51||33||18|
The estimated cost of SwiftLink is £7.2bn. The following cost breakdown follows the same methodology used to evaluate the cost breakdown for TfL's £12bn scheme.
|Tunnelling||£1,500m||12.7km at £100m per km plus one junction|
|Upgrade Network Rail||£1,000m||Work needed in Clapham Junction area and beyond|
|Track, Electrical, Comms||£700m||-|
The stations were costed up as follows:
|Clapham Junction||£50m||Battersea Power||£150m||Victoria||£300m||Tottenham Court Road||£400m||Euston/St.Pancras||£600m||Angel||£300m||Old St & Shoreditch||£500m||Whitechapel||£300m|
These costs assume a tunnel portal at Battersea Power station. A portal at Earlsfield to serve either Chelsea or Battersea is about £600m more expensive at £7.8bn.
Overall, the SwiftLink scheme is simple. It takes passengers from South West London directly to their jobs in the City and Canary Wharf, something which TfL's proposed scheme fails to do. By re-using the Canary Wharf branch of Crossrail 1, better service can be provided to both Stratford and Canary Wharf, supporting regeneration in the East.
PalaceLink - Alexandra Palace to Victoria
The PalaceLink proposal is focussed on North London and is based on TfL's Metro scheme in the North. It provides a direct link from Alexandra Palace, Turnpike Lane and Seven Sisters to a wide selection of zone 1 stations. The terminus at Victoria also allows passengers from South and South West London to use the line to access more of zone 1 direct without changing.
The PalaceLink part of the proposal is based on Metro technology, with up to 40tph. This is a better technology fit for the North, where distances are shorter, and high frequency matters. It is important to note that Metro technology is not better or worse than Crossrail technology, just different. For example, a Metro train can accelerate and decelerate faster than a Crossrail train, resulting in a faster journey time, or more stops.
The PalaceLink route proposed here is designed to be simple and effective:
- Victoria (for SwiftLink, Victoria, District and main line)
- Charing Cross (for Northern, Bakerloo and main line)
- Covent Garden South/Strand (named to relieve Covent Garden)
- Chancery Lane (for Central line)
- Barbican/Farringdon (for Crossrail 1)
- Old Street (for SwiftLink)
- Dalston (for Overground)
- Seven Sisters (for Victoria line and mainline)
- Turnpike Lane (for Piccadilly line)
- Alexandra Palace (for main line)
There are many possible routes in the North, which all have relatively similar costs. Ultimately, the PalaceLink proposal uses this route to make comparisons with TfL's Metro option simple. Hackney is not served, as per the TfL Metro option, but could be at extra cost.
- Capacity relief on the Piccadilly line
- Capacity relief on the Victoria line
- Direct access to Dalston from the West End
- Additional services for the growing Tech City area
- Extra distribution from Victoria and Charing Cross main line termini
- The potential to extend South or West from Victoria at a later stage (such as to Tooting Broadway, about £2.1bn via Chelsea)
- The potential to add a branch to the Lea Valley at a later stage (about £0.9bn)
PalaceLink is designed to create journey time savings:
|Estimated journey times|
|Journey||Now (off-peak, TfL website)||With PalaceLink||Saving|
|Seven Sisters to Victoria||17||16||1|
|Seven Sisters to Charing Cross||19||14||5|
|Seven Sisters to Covent Garden||18||13||5|
|Seven Sisters to Barbican||20||9||11|
|Seven Sisters to Old Street||13||7||6|
|Turnpike Lane to Victoria||20||19||1|
|Turnpike Lane to Charing Cross||25||17||8|
|Turnpike Lane to Covent Garden||19||16||3|
|Turnpike Lane to Barbican||24||12||12|
|Turnpike Lane to Old Street||19||10||6|
|Hackney to Covent Garden||27||14||13|
The estimated cost of PalaceLink is £5.7bn. The following cost breakdown follows the same methodology used to evaluate the cost breakdown for TfL's £9.4bn Metro scheme.
|Tunnelling||£1,500m||15.4km at £100m per km|
|Track, Electrical, Comms||£800m||-|
The stations were costed up as follows:
|Covent Garden South||£250m|
Note that some items have lower cost estimates because of shared costs with SwiftLink. Notably this includes Victoria and Old Street station, and a minor reduction in tunnelling costs. In addition, cost at Charing Cross is reduced by reusing the access passageways to the old Jubilee line platforms (although still requiring work to enlarge the platforms themselves).
Overall, the PalaceLink scheme is a simple Metro in the tradition of London's existing tube lines. It deals effectively with the capacity issue of the North while offering a much wider range of destination choices in zone 1. The major job markets of Victoria, the West End, Mid Town and the northern City are all served, with an easy change at Old Street for Canary Wharf. It also provides additional, much needed, distribution from Charing Cross and Victoria termini, linking in well with SwiftLink to provide even more choice to South West London.
Its not often that a transport proposal comes along which offers a supermarket style "two for one" offer. Yet that is almost what the Crossrail 2 "Wink" option provides, at a cost of £12.9bn, vs TfL's £12bn.
Swiftlink serves South West London far better than TfL's plans, by taking passengers to the destinations they desire in the City and Canary Wharf, and linking with PalaceLink to serve Covent Garden and Mid Town. PalaceLink serves North London better as well, using the more appropriate Metro technology to provide a high frequency service to greatly relieve the Piccadilly and Victoria lines, without simply duplicating the existing route via Kings Cross.
If you back the proposal, or have any other opinions, why not leave a comment!