Transport scheme idea for London (the ICE Line)…

At the present time I am travelling a lot around Central London – including commuting into Marylebone.  You realise how severe the pressure is on London’s transport system at peak hour.  But overall I sense a shift in transport demand and types of journeys in London – and perhaps the arrival of Crossrail will emphasise this.  Trains and tube are now focusing on longer journeys and people seem to be more frequently walking and cycling (and using the bus) when convenient.  I should say that is empirical based on my practical observations!

Anyway, this led me to ponder over what should come after Crossrail 2?  I think it would be fair to say that by the time Crossrail 1 opens in 2018, we will be seeing Crossrail 2 in full detailed scheme development (at the very least!!).  So what will be the next major project?  Well, my proposition is perhaps not as major in terms of amount of areas it connects directly, but hopefully will create greater efficiency, better connectivity and mobility for a vast number of people around Central London.

The ICE Line (Inner Circle Express) is my proposition: we have the Waterloo and City line as the base.  It strikes me that this could be redeveloped into a high frequency express circular route that connects Waterloo (South Bank) with Bank (City of London) and then extends round:

– from Waterloo head west to Victoria and then northwards to Paddington and round to Marylebone…

– from Bank bear north to Old Street and then swing round to Euston/St Pancras/King’s Cross and on to Marylebone to connect up.

So a high frequency, high capacity express line with 7 stations:

– Waterloo (for South Bank), a major growth area

– Bank (for City of London), vast peak demand

– Old Street, serving the growing City Road, Shoreditch, Tech City areas

– Euston/King’s Cross/St Pancras, connecting with HS2 and Crossrail 2 and connecting these 3 major stations together

– Marylebone/Baker Street, providing huge connectivity and capacity improvements

– Paddington, connecting in with Crossrail 1

– Victoria, connecting with Crossrail 2 and providing a direct link at last between Waterloo and Victoria

Taken together, this would provide major capacity relief for the Bakerloo and Northern (Bank branch) lines in particular.  You will also see huge connectivity improvements and a real capacity uplift for access and egress from a number of the busiest stations on the national rail network.  This would also connect up Crossrail 1 and 2 as well as HS2 at Euston and European services at St Pancras.  These crucial aspects of capacity and connectivity must be planned and provided for.  Once Crossrail 2 goes into construction, the next major project must be planned and I consider that capacity relief using a new high frequency, high capacity line designed solely for Central London is critically important.

This is just an outline concept for the ICE Line – I would be interested in other peoples’ thoughts and ideas – on this or similar…


Proviso: this sort of scheme is needed once Crossrail 2 and HS2 have both been delivered.  At the same time, major schemes like this are also absolutely critical for the major regional city regions.  I will come back to those in the future…

2 thoughts on “Transport scheme idea for London (the ICE Line)…

  1. Unfortunately you’ve hit on almost every bad idea here!

    1) the Waterloo and City will never be extended. The two stations do not face any sensible direction for extension, and the platforms that are far too short for modern demand (only 4 car).

    2) any new development in London is going to need to be at least DLR sized if not full main line sized. Tube trains are a technology of the past, especially if you’re over 6 foot tall.

    3) circular lines are considered a bad idea by operations as they leave no room to recover from service disruption. See recent London Reconnections arcticle on the Circle line.

    4) the real BCR benefits come from lines bringing people in from the suburbs that can also relieve the centre

    FWIW, I still think that the “2 lines for the price of 1” deal of Crossrail 2 Wink (Wimbledon to Abbey Wood via Kings Cross, and Victoria to Alexandra Palace via Old Street) is a much more effective plan for the future.

    Beyond Crossrail 2, SE London will need some love, and extending the Met from Aldgate may be one possibility.

    1. i absolutely accept points 1 and 2. one thing i would ask is this – is there a future for the Drain? can it be improved in some way or redeployed in another way?? as a 6’1 chap, yes the tube is too small for us tall people though!!

      on circular lines, yes this is indeed true… however, recovery would be a lot easier with a dedicated line with few stops so i don’t think this would be such an issue

      indeed the suburbs and centre are important. the point i want to explore though is that the centre has major issues in need of relief. now whether further crossrail lines into a network akin to the RER is the way forward is perhaps the key question?

      i agree that SE London needs support. The “Crossrail 3/Thameslink 2′ idea combined with the Brighton Main Line 2 concept and the major new Lewisham and Croydon Interchanges is of interest…

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