Over on the Transport Womble blog is a post about a major combination of rail upgrade providing huge new capacity and connectivity. The post is here: http://wp.me/p2ePa4-V and also credit the www.bml2.co.uk campaign and http://ukrail.blogspot.co.uk
Essentially, the schemes proposed are to:
– create a 2nd Brighton Main Line by re-connecting Lewes and Uckfield, as well as linking in Tunbridge Wells and also a through line to Falmer and Brighton – this will provide significant new capacity and connectivity for East Sussex and West Kent
– with this second main line from the South, it can link with the existing lines at a new major Croydon Interchange station replacing the existing Purley Oaks and Sanderstead stations and connected with a Croydon Tramlink extension
– link the line through Elmers End to a new Lewisham Junction station providing relief for existing Lewisham station, a short DLR extension and greater connectivity and pathing capacity around Lewisham and the existing constrained station junctions
– create a new Thameslink 2 route from Lewisham Junction via Greenwich and Canary Wharf to Stratford
– create a new tunnelled Great Anglian high speed rail line from Liverpool Street, through Stratford to Epping where it splits with 1 branch going to Harlow and on to Stansted Airport and Cambridge, and the other branch going to Chelmsford and East Anglia.
There is a lot in all of these and separately come with merit – but together it brings in several huge schemes that can make transformational differences to the transport capacity and connectivity of a vast number of people across the South East of England.
We need big ideas that look far into the future. I read a blog by several local authority officers that basically said long term thinking was a waste of time and all we should focus on is the next couple of years. It wouldn’t take a genius to find the flaws in that – when do we plan for the future, or do we just not need to?
These schemes bring into play some major issues of significant importance with a focus on our over-reliance on key arterial routes: the Brighton Main Line needs support, Tunbridge Wells is a key centre that needs to retain and enhance its rail services into London, East Croydon is a bottleneck, Lewisham is a bottleneck, Canary Wharf is a major trip generator, Stratford is rapidly becoming a critical national transport node (and a nod to replicating this at Croydon and Lewisham for their respective major surrounding population centres), East Anglia rail is poorly served and unreliable, Stansted in 30 is a sensible campaign that ties in with the aviation debate.
There is a lot there but behind it all is the need for strategic long term thinking to stay in the game and come up with the ideas to keep the country on the boil and well served by infrastructure that helps rather than hinders.