Mapping out the future of transport

TfL commissioner Andy Byford has said the £1.1billion Northern line extension is an example of how major transport schemes can transform an area and suggested, “there’s more where that came from”. But what is to happen with South London’s “suspended” projects such as the Bakerloo Line extension and the Silvertown Tunnel? JOE TALORA and TOBY PORTER look at their future

Bakerloo Line Extension

The Bakerloo line extension will not see the light of day until at least the next decade.

Transport for London (TfL) has said it “remains committed to delivering the Bakerloo line extension”, but it is dependent on a “viable funding package being put together” by the Government.

Consultations for the extension first took place in 2014 before subsequent consultations in 2017 and 2019 created a clearer idea of what the new route would look like.

TfL’s plan was to extend the Bakerloo line from Elephant and Castle to Lewisham, building two Tube stations along Old Kent Road and a new station at New Cross Gate.

The 2019 consultation also outlined plans for a further extension of the line from Lewisham to Hayes and Beckenham at a later date.

But the plans have been scuppered by the Covid-19 pandemic and the fragile state of TfL’s finances.

When Andy Byford revealed the project was on hold in March.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps had only a week prior issued guidance safeguarding the proposed route of the extension so land needed for the project could not be used for another purpose.

Silvertown Tunnel

Tunnelling work is expected to begin on the Silvertown Tunnel in April next year while the tunnel itself is expected to open to traffic in 2025.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s decision to push ahead with the four-lane motorway has sparked outrage from climate campaigners, residents and eve members of Mr Khan’s own party.

Silvertown Tunnel

The motorway will run under the Thames connecting Lewisham and Newham in east London.

The Mayor and TfL have long been making the case for another river crossing in the east and  argue  the  Silvertown  Tunnel  will  ease congestion from the nearby Blackwall Tunnel, which is frequently closed.

But opponents of the tunnel say a massive road-building project in one of the most polluted  areas  of  the  capital  will  undermine his green credentials, while he frequently talks up the “bold action” he is taking on climate change.

Mr Khan has said tolls on the Silvertown Tunnel and Blackwall Tunnel will prevent an increase in traffic. He said of the idea of scrapping it is not an option.

The £2.2billion project is being built and financed by the Riverlinx consortium and will be the first road crossing across the Thames since the QE2 Bridge was opened in 1991.


Crossrail, linking Heathrow and Reading in the west to Abbey Wood in the east, is now expected to start running within the first half of next year.

The £18.7billion line, which will become the Elizabeth line when it opens, was supposed to open in December 2018.

It is now expected to open no earlier than May after it was revealed that trial runs of trains had shown “poor” reliability.

It will serve 41 stations and allow passengers to travel from Heathrow Airport to Canary Wharf in 30 minutes.

The project’s chief executive Mark Wild said: “We’re very much on target for the first half of 2022.”

Mr Wild has said that the line will act as “an engine of economic activity” for the capital and will be “fundamental” to London’s economic recovery.

But passengers will not be able to travel directly from Heathrow or Reading to Shenfield or Abbey Wood from the start – it will initially operate as three separate railways.

Passengers will have to change at Paddington for services towards Heathrow or at Liverpool Street for services toward Shenfield in Essex.

Trains are expected to run directly from Reading to Shenfield by September 2022 instead of May 2023 as originally thought.

Crossrail is expected to enter a “trial phase” as early as November which will involve a dress rehearsal of a full service to test for all eventualities.

This 12-week process will be the final stage before the line opens.

Elizabeth Town
DLR Extension

TfL announced in December 2020 it had began work exploring the feasibility of extending the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) across the Thames from Newham to Thamesmead.

The proposals would see two stations built at Beckton Riverside and South of the river at Thamesmead, extending the current DLR line from Gallion’s Reach station.

Up to 25,000 new homes could be built along the new route, along with potential new transport options including a rapid bus corridor and new cycling links.

Speaking in July, Heidi Alexander suggested the DLR extension could “move up the pecking order” of transport projects due to it being more affordable than other projects, meaning it could see the light of day before the end of the decade.

TfL commissioner Andy Byford has said after the opening of the Northern Line Extension: “There’s more where that came from.”

But with the current emergency funding deal for TfL only set to cover until December 11 and huge savings still yet to be made, Mr Byford has said future projects will depend on whether a long-term funding deal can be agreed.




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