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A new Thameslink 2? And more…

July 31, 2012

Following on from my last post about the BML2 campaign I want to continue in this vein and also note another rail blogger whose ideas are really thought-provoking and eminently sensible

There has been a joining of ideas between these 2 which is what I want to explore.

The BML2 campaign wants to create a second mainline to East Sussex, Kent and the South Coast by:

– reconnecting the line between Uckfield and Lewes, allowing services from London to Seaford and Eastbourne via Lewes and also to Brighton via Falmer

– reconnecting the line through to Tunbridge Wells West and the existing station allowing relief for the Kent Main Line into London.

BML2 then pitch further though – the regional lines are one thing but it is in London that the capacity crunch really hits again with track congestion, particularly on the Central London approaches being a severe impediment to growing capacity and frequencies form Sussex, Kent and Surrey.

BML2 add a London proposition which is:

– a new Croydon Junction station linking the existing Sanderstead and Purley Oaks stations together on a nearby site providing a major interchange between the 2 mainlines and suburbans as well as loops giving real track space and capacity benefits as well as interconnectivity (adding in a Croydon Tramlink connection as well…!) and relief for East Croydon station.

– reopening the Selsdon tunnel and reconnecting the line through to Elmers End and inwards (the Hayes branch) then 4 tracking that line into Lewisham and tunneling through to Canary Wharf (interchange with Crossrail, Jubilee and DLR) and on to Stratford (a topically massive interchange station)

– this link would then go on to Stansted Airport so you would have a Thameslink 2 proposition linking Stansted and Essex through Stratford, Canary Wharf and Lewisham and then on to Croydon and the South Coast.

I now want to link in with Stephen’s (ukrail blog author) ideas and 2 particular schemes:

– Lewisham Junction station, providing relief around the current Lewisham station, a DLR extension, relief for better and more efficient train paths, a much improved central Lewisham station in the heart of the town centre – this would create the world class station, connectivity, space and facilities for a new major South East London interchange station that would really create huge opportunities and benefits for a Thameslink 2 project

– going north-east from Stratford, Stephen has a crucial new Anglian Main Line proposition with a new main line running from Stratford to Epping before splitting with one limb linking northwards near Harlow to the West Anglian Main line (bringing ‘Stansted in 30’ ambitions into play) and the other limb heading eastwards to south of Chelmsford and into the East Anglian Main Line.  These would both provide significant capacity relief on the Liverpool Street approach as well as providing the speed, reliability and capacity benefits.

So in summary we have a combination of big projects here that together can bring a huge transformation to London and the South East’s transport infrastructure:

– a new Thameslink line connecting Gatwick and Stansted Airports

– ‘Stansted in 30’ achieved from Liverpool St/Canary Wharf/Stratford

– a new Thameslink line connecting Croydon and the South with Stratford via Canary Wharf and Lewisham

– significant transformational new interchange stations at Croydon and Lewisham that can be catalysts for significant regeneration and transport improvements across their wider catchment areas

– key relief on the Brighton Main Line, West Kent line and West and East Anglian Main Lines

– major connectivity improvements for East Sussex/West Kent plus South East London and into Crossrail 1 and the London transport network via Canary Wharf and Stratford

There is a lot here but this is the scale of ambition required.

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