Crossrail (or the Elizabeth line) is practically old news now. Years in the making, it's finally being opened in stages (albeit months later than expected). So what's next? Crossrail 2, of course. Here's what you need to know about Crossrail 2:
(Note: although we usually refer to the Elizabeth line as 'Crossrail', we've called it by it's 'proper' name throughout this article, to avoid confusion between the two Crossrails.)
What is Crossrail 2?
Much like the Elizabeth line, Crossrail 2 is a new rail route going through London. In the same way that the Elizabeth line runs east-west, Crossrail 2 will run north-south, connecting London to its surrounds.
It's expected to relieve overcrowding on the Victoria, Piccadilly, Northern, Central and District lines on the tube, offering Londoners alternatives to these routes.
How is Crossrail 2 different from the Elizabeth line?
The Elizabeth line and Crossrail 2 are two completely different infrastructure projects, both aiming to improve transport interchanges in and around London. The two will intersect at Tottenham Court Road.
When will Crossrail 2 launch?
Not yet! Not any time soon in fact. The route hasn't been finalised or permission granted yet. It's expected that the final plans will be submitted to Parliament in 2021/2022, with construction to take place after that — and if you think how long the Elizabeth line was in the making, you know it'll be a while. It's hoped that Crossrail 2 will be up and running by the early 2030s, but that's not confirmed.
What's the route for Crossrail 2?
At the moment, that is still up for negotiation. The plan is for Crossrail 2 to run from south-west London to north/north-east London. The core section of the Crossrail 2 route is planned to run from Clapham Junction to Alexandra Palace and Tottenham Hale, but the whole line will probably end up running much further than this via "regional branches" stretching out as far as Broxbourne to the north and Epsom and Shepperton to the south. The ultimate aim is to link Hertfordshire to Surrey.
It is planned that 30 trains per hour will run in each direction on the core section, with less frequent services further out.
Which stations will be on Crossrail 2?
Too many to name — take a look at the route map above for all possible Crossrail 2 stations. Some are still up for debate. For example, it's yet to be decided whether the section between Clapham Junction and Wimbledon will run via Balham or Tooting.
It's been planned to go through several major interchanges, including Clapham Junction, Victoria, Tottenham Court Road, Seven Sisters and Euston St Pancras. No, that's not a typo — the station is being called Euston St Pancras, and will serve the three big stations of Euston, St Pancras and King's Cross. By 2026, HS2 may be running from Euston towards Birmingham and Manchester, in addition to the current local, national and international routes from these stations.
Interesting points about some of the Crossrail 2 stations:
- The eager eyed among you will have noticed that the station listed on the route map is simply called "Dalston" rather than the existing "Dalston Junction" or "Dalston Kingsland". There are plans for these two neighbouring but separate stations to be joined in some way via the platforms that will be used by Crossrail 2.
- Angel Road is currently the least-used station in London — will this change once Crossrail 2 is up and running?
What's Crossrail 2's official name?
At the moment, the project is simply known as 'Crossrail 2'. Of course, the route may be given another name when it's actually up and running as a railway line.
Crossrail became the Elizabeth line in February 2016, although many still refer to it simply as 'Crossrail'. If that continues, we'll need to call this newbie something completely different to separate the two. We've seen suggestions of the 'Philip line' as a nod to the 97 year old Prince Consort, and although it pairs well with the Elizabeth line, we're looking 15 years in the future here...
How much will Crossrail 2 cost?
The Crossrail 2 budget has been pegged at various figures hovering around the £30 billion mark. That said, the Elizabeth line was due to cost about half that, and is running at approximately £600 million over budget, so don't take that figure as gospel.
Will Crossrail 2 definitely happen?
Until it's been through Parliament, and in fact, until building work commences, nothing's certain. There has been some resistance to Crossrail 2, particularly around Chelsea (see below).
Although there are still issues to be ironed out, it's likely that Crossrail 2 will go ahead in some form. There have been plans for a railway following this rough route since the 1970s (more recently known as the Chelsea-Hackney line or the Chelney), and as London's population increases, capacity on its transport network does need to be increased one way or another.
Why are some people against Crossrail 2?
The only new station to be built for Crossrail 2 is a £1billion building to be situated on King's Road in Chelsea, something which some locals claim will damage the area's identity, turning it into another Clapham Junction. The area has notoriously poor transport links, but being one of London's wealthier boroughs, many residents own cars. A route running directly from Victoria to Clapham Junction, missing out Chelsea entirely, is being considered.
Similar issues were raised in Wimbledon, where the proposed plans would require up to 60% of the Centre Court shopping centre to be demolished. It now looks like this station will have fewer sidings than originally planned, following concerns raised in a 2015 consultation.
You can see all issues and concerns that were raised in the 2015 consultation on this TfL document.
Will Crossrail 2 be run by TfL?
Yes, Crossrail 2 will be a TfL-run service in the same way as the Elizabeth line, so you should be able to use whatever high-tech payment method we're using in 2030 to pay for your journey. It's so far off that we have no inclination of what the fares will be yet, but we'd like to think that regular TfL fares will apply, as they will on the Elizabeth line.