Bakerloo line extension thrown into doubt without Government funding

Councillors have urged the Government to commit to funding for the Bakerloo line extension after a new impact assessment showed the project could have a “transformational” impact.

The case for extending the Bakerloo line along the Old Kent Road to Lewisham and Hayes has already been backed by Southwark and Lewisham councils, developers, businesses, Transport for London (TfL), and a majority of residents in the area. But the project will not go ahead without a secure Government funding deal.

The impact assessment, published today, reveals the upgrade could unlock 20,000 homes, create 10,000 new jobs and deliver a £1.5billion boost to the UK economy.

The assessment also shows the extension would support sustainable travel, with 150,000 additional public transport trips and 20,800 fewer car trips each day, cutting travel time from the Old Kent Road to Oxford Circus by nearly two thirds.

The report warns of the risks of inaction – including a potential “critical failure” of the line. 

Jennifer Daothong chief executive of Lewisham council who is backing the extension (Picture: Lewisham council)

The Bakerloo line has the oldest rolling stock in passenger service in the UK. Built in 1972, the trains are now 16 years beyond their intended lifespan. 

The failure rate on the Bakerloo line is more than four times as high as that on the Victoria line, with 630,500 customer hours lost last year due to cancellations – up 370 per cent over the past decade. 

The last TfL consultation showed those backing the extension outnumber those opposing it by 14 to one in Southwark, Lewisham and Bromley – the boroughs covered by the extension. 

The Government announced a one-year capital funding deal for TfL in December. But, this provides only £250million next year, half the £500million – £600million TfL requires annually to meet its capital needs. 

Cllr Kieron Williams, leader of Southwark Council (Picture: Southwark council)

The Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, will be setting out his tax and spending plans in the spring budget on March 6.

Councillor Kieron Williams, chairman of Central London Forward and leader of Southwark council, said: “The Bakerloo line upgrade and extension is an investment that would keep our city moving forwards. 

“At a time when we urgently need to get growth back on track, it would boost our economy, create jobs and unlock tens of thousands of much-needed homes, all by making better use of the tunnels we already have beneath our capital.

“But we can’t deliver it alone. To unlock these benefits we need the Government and London to invest together.”

The impact assessment was commissioned by Central London Forward – the partnership of the 12 central London boroughs – along with Lewisham council and Southwark council. It was carried out by Hatch – a consultancy specialising in transport and infrastructure. 

Pictured top: A Bakerloo line train carriage (Picture: Peter Skuce/Wikimedia Commons)

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