Plans for an extension to the Elizabeth line have gained traction, with a partnership involving TfL and local authorities intending to submit a business case to government this year.
According to mayor Sadiq Khan, the partnership, including TfL, the Greater London Authority, London borough of Bexley and local authorities in Kent, is investigating options to extend the Elizabeth line "to improve the rail network and support new housing and economic growth".
In a response to a mayor's question, Khan said: "Cost and potential sources of funding will be identified in a strategic outline business case, which is planned to be submitted to government later this year."
Khan had previously said in his draft London plan that "priority should be given" to an Elizabeth line extension east of Abbey Wood in upcoming development plans and decisions.
He said an extension could support 55,000 new homes and 50,000 new jobs in Bexley and north Kent.
The Crossrail project is nearing the final stages of construction and the Elizabeth Line, as it will be known when it opens through central London, will be open to the public in phases from December.
It will serve 41 stations and stretch more than 60 miles from Reading and Heathrow in the west, through tunnels in central London, to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.
Previously, Crossrail had said an additional extension of the Elizabeth Line from Abbey Wood to Gravesend and Hoo Junction had been safeguarded, but that there were no current plans to extend the railway further than the current route.
Khan said in the response that all the options now being considered "involve either shared running on the existing North Kent line from Abbey Wood to Slade Green, or on segregated rail lines adjacent to the existing north Kent rail line for this section".
The Crossrail to Ebbsfleet partnership, to oversee work in support of an extension, has called for the route to continue from Abbey Wood calling at Belvedere, Erith, Slade Green, Dartford, Greenhithe, Stone Crossing, Swanscombe and then Ebbsfleet.
This article originally appeared on City AM.