What is Crossrail 2? Plans for the train line between Hertfordshire and Surrey which Boris Johnson says will be ‘transformative’

Crossrail 2, a trainline connecting Hertfordshire to Surrey, has been in the works for decades. Much like the newly opened Elizabeth Line, previously known as Crossrail, it is hoped that it will be “transformative” in providing transport links across London.

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when talks about the route first began, with similar proposals made as far back as 1944. Following this, in 1974, the London Rail Study identified the Chelsea- Hackney Underground line as a possible scheme to serve future demand.

Crossrail 2 became a reality after a consultation in 2013. But, nearly a decade later, we’re still a long way from getting the trainline. It is unlikely to be fully functioning until the late 2030s.

Read more: Boris Johnson says ‘we should be getting on’ with Crossrail 2 set to run between Hertfordshire and Surrey

Transport for London (TfL) has a dedicated ‘Crossrail 2’ team – but it is currently ‘frozen’ due to its financial crisis and pandemic-related losses. The latest update on the plans was released in November 2020.

A representative for the scheme said: “Given TfL’s current finances and the lack of a viable funding package for the scheme at the moment, we are not in a position to confirm when our work on seeking consent can restart.

“Crossrail 2 will still be needed in future to support London’s growth and we have clearly demonstrated the case for the scheme. The project has been put in good order, ready to be restarted when the time is right.”

Michele Dix, TfL’s Crossrail 2 boss, retired after the project was mothballed by Sadiq Khan in the face of TfL’s current funding crisis, according to MyLondon. There are no immediate plans to restart the project, but this week Boris Johnson said that we should “be getting on with it”.

Boris Johnson has called for the multibillion-pound railway to be built, saying that the would back Crossrail 2. However, he said that the capital’s businesses would need to develop a plan to pay for it.

He said: “The real thing for us now is to think about Crossrail 2, the old Chelsea-Hackney line. That is going to be transformative again. All the problems of commuters coming into Waterloo getting up to north London, you can fix that with another Crossrail. I think we should be getting on with that.”

What do Herts residents think of the plans?

Back in 2019, we asked Hertfordshire residents what they think of the plans to introduce Crossrail 2. One said: “”It would be so useful to have a direct line straight to central London from here for anyone working in the city. I’d use it on weekends too to get into town.”

Another added: “I think it will be a good thing for the town to have a better link to the city. Loads of people already commute in so I don’t think we’re suddenly going to be overrun with Londoners coming to live here.

“Not that there’s anything wrong with Londoners, but you know it’s a bit different here with our parks and things. It’s right on the border with Essex as well and I think people enjoy getting out to the countryside, rather than that sort of cramped London life.”

But views were mixed. One resident said: “The car park gets really busy here in the morning and sometimes I haven’t been able to get a seat. I hope when they bring it in they make that a bit better and run the trains regularly, because it is pretty packed on the trains we have now. It will be good though, I’m looking forward to it.”

A local business owner added: “I think when they introduce it, Broxbourne will probably feel a bit emptier. It’s not that different from places like Enfield in London already, but obviously having a stronger link will make it easier for Londoners to move here and the character of the town will probably change.

“I mean I hope it means more customers, but you never know. People will just leave for London for the day to work, so we won’t see that much change here.”

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HertsLive – Hemel Hempstead