PM backs ‘transformative’ Crossrail 2

On eve of Elizabeth Line opening, Boris Johnson says he wants to see Crossrail 2 built as well, reports James Cracknell

Enfield Lock could be one of the borough railway stations to be served by a future Crossrail 2 route, which is apparently now supported by Boris Johnson (inset)
Enfield Lock could be one of the borough railway stations to be served by a future Crossrail 2 route, which is apparently now supported by Boris Johnson (inset)

Boris Johnson has championed the “transformative” benefits of building Crossrail 2 – despite his own government currently blocking its progress.

Before the Elizabeth Line – the £19billion railway formerly known as Crossrail – was set to open tomorrow (Tuesday), the prime minister was asked about future transport infrastructure projects. He voluntarily brought up Crossrail 2 and said it could “fix” a lot of the current problems with travelling between north and south London.

Crossrail 2 would connect stations in Surrey with Broxbourne in Hertfordshire, via Victoria, Euston and several stations in eastern Enfield, including Meridian Water and Ponders End. Transport for London (TfL) had previously been developing detailed plans for the railway line, but the Department for Transport (DfT) inserted a clause in one of its many short-term funding deals with TfL that explicitly required this work to be brought to “an orderly end”, while still ensuring the proposed route is safeguarded.

TfL has been forced to negotiate its financing with the government over the last two years, since the Covid-19 pandemic led to a sudden shift in people’s travel patterns and drastically reduced TfL’s ticket revenue.

Speaking to ITV News, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I have got absolutely no embarrassment – as a former mayor of London – about supporting projects in London.

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“We have completed Crossrail, but frankly there is more that we should be doing; we should look at tax-increment financing like we did with the Northern Line down to Battersea, and look at projects such as the Bakerloo Line extension, but I think the real thing for us now is to think about things like Crossrail 2 – the old Hackney/Chelsea line – that is going to be transformative again.

“All the problems of commuters coming into Waterloo, getting up to North London, you can fix that with another Crossrail.”

Johnson’s comments came 18 months after the government demanded that consultancy work on Crossrail 2 be halted by TfL. A City Hall spokesperson said: “The mayor welcomes the prime minister’s recognition of how important investment in London transport is for the whole country, and his comments about the need for Crossrail 2.

“The Elizabeth Line will transform transport in London and the south-east, but will also contribute £42bn in net benefit to the UK economy.

“The key thing now is for the Department for Transport to realise that a properly-funded transport network in London is an issue of great national importance, and to commit to a long-term funding deal that will protect London’s transport network – for the sake of the capital and the whole country.

“TfL and City Hall stand ready to work with the Department of Transport on a fair funding deal for TfL and the expansion of London’s public transport in the future.”

Enfield Council has long promoted the benefits of Crossrail 2, with a former head of strategic planning at the civic centre telling a London-wide conference in 2019 that it would “secure employment opportunities and affordable housing for previously excluded communities”.

A DfT spokesperson said: “We are in discussions with Transport for London about updating the directions surrounding the latest safeguarding requirements. We hope to conclude these discussions in due course.”

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