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…