Crossrail 2 - Update February 2017
What the RPWBRA is doing?
Through its membership of the Raynes Park Association (RPA), our association is joining forces with other local residents’ and business associations, in anticipation of another round of public consultation on Crossrail 2 in Spring 2017.
Crossrail 2 coming to our area
Crossrail 2 is a new railway line, which is planned to come through Raynes Park and Wimbledon stations, providing a completely new link from our area to central London and northwards into Hertfordshire.
The Crossrail 2 trains are planned to provide a direct service from Raynes Park to new destinations in central London. After calling at Wimbledon, the trains will run in tunnels all the way to Tottenham Hale. There are expected to be several below-ground stations in central London, including inter-connections at Victoria, Tottenham Court Road and Euston/St Pancras.
It will thus make many destinations easier to reach, without the need to travel via Waterloo. For example, it should be easier to reach the City and Docklands by taking Crossrail 2 to Tottenham Court Road and changing onto the soon-to-open Elizabeth Line, rather than going via either the Waterloo & City or Jubilee tube lines, as at present.
In the opposite direction, the Crossrail 2 trains are planned to serve the existing Network Rail branches all the way to Shepperton, Hampton Court, Chessington South and Epsom. These branches will also continue to carry national rail services to and from Waterloo. These branches, of course, converge on Raynes Park.
Public Consultation in Spring 2017
Whilst Crossrail 2 in not programmed to be completed until 2032, we are likely to have several years of construction work in our neighbourhood. Despite this seeming far in the future, the opportunity for us to have our say is likely to be very soon, because once the key decisions are taken, it will be much harder to change things later.
Currently, the Crossrail 2 team is considering the recommendations of the National Infrastructure Commission and the Government on the business case for the scheme. They have been tasked with finding £4bn savings from a budget of around £27bn, which is quite a challenge.
As a consequence, the next phase of public consultation, which was originally scheduled for the end of last year is now postponed until this spring.
What the results of the cost saving exercise may be and when the public consultation may re-start, we have no idea. Stephen Hammond, our MP, has asked for a meeting with Crossrail 2 to find out what we might expect and when.
Impact on Wimbledon Town Centre
In the winter of 2015/2016 there was an initial public consultation concerning the underground section through central London, which included the area to be taken up by an expanded Wimbledon Station and the land required above ground immediately to the west of Wimbledon Station for sidings to allow trains to reverse direction.
Whilst these proposals were very much an initial outline and broad-brush in nature, they proved highly controversial, as they implied that the Centre Court shopping mall would be demolished, together with many other buildings (both old and new) around the station.
Due to the largely adverse public reaction, Crossrail 2 went away to reconsider their plans for Wimbledon Station. Whilst we know that several other ideas about how the extra platforms may be accommodated were under consideration during 2016, nothing more has been made public for the reasons explained above.
As part of the 2015/2016 consultation process, Crossrail 2 issued “Safeguarding” plans. These delineate the boundaries of the land likely to be required, both during construction and for the permanent works. These plans have a statutory significance, insofar that (a) any planning applications within the safeguarded areas must be referred by the planning authority to Crossrail 2, in case they might have an impact of the scheme and (b) that landowners within the safeguarded areas may apply for compensation from blight, if they consider they have materially suffered as a result.
However, the safeguarding plans published so far for our area only relate to the public consultation that has taken place over the proposals for Wimbledon and the associated sidings.
Nothing has been published about any proposals west of Lower Downs Road.
Likely Changes in Raynes Park and Motspur Park
However, we know that it is planned to run something like double the number of trains through Raynes Park and onto the four branches to Shepperton, Hampton Court, Chessington South and Epsom. The initial proposals indicate that this will necessitate two extra railway lines running between New Malden and Wimbledon, through Raynes Park. (one in each direction). This would thus increase the existing four lines to six along this stretch of track.
However, we know that Network Rail have been busy working with Crossrail 2 on the design details and we expect that new information will be forthcoming fairly soon.
Suffice it to say that these additional lines will be a tight fit through Raynes Park town centre, particularly at the station, where there is very little spare railway land.
Ideally, if Raynes Park Station is to be significantly modified, we like to see straighter platforms (without the dangerous gaps we have at the moment) and step-free access from street to trains on all platforms. Whilst, of course, the devil will be in the detail, the RPA is keen to get the best outcome for Raynes Park.
We are also concerned about what is planned for the two level-crossings along West Barnes Lane (i.e. at the junction with Burlington Road and at Motspur Park), as it seems inevitable that these level crossings would cease to be practical with the planned increase in trains. It is also anticipated that improvements will also need to be made to Motspur Park Station.
We consider it important that any changes to the station in Raynes Park incorporate improvements to the connectivity with pedestrian, cycle, bus and road routes. We also would like to see the plans incorporate improvements to the public realm around the station.
Find Out More
You can find out more and subscribe for email bulletins on the Crossrail2 website, http://crossrail2.co.uk/ . You can also find out more on our MP’s website, https://www.stephenhammond.net/campaigns/crossrail-2 .
In the meantime, we urge local residents and businesses to participate in the next public consultation, when the time comes.
Jerry Cuthbert, 2 February 2017