The Bakerloo Line extension to Lewisham has been put on hold along with Crossrail 2, according to Andy Byford, the Transport for London commissioner.
The delay to the £4 billion was revealed at a meeting of the London Assembly’s transport committee yesterday, following a question from Labour’s Joanne McCartney about which major transport projects have been delayed or cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The TfL boss told the assembly members that while the Bakerloo Line extension and Crossrail 2 “have good business cases” and that “we’re not saying we don’t want to do them”, both would be “on hold” for the time being.
Byford said: “If you’ve got finite funds or your budget is cut, the one thing you must do is keep the existing system in a safe and secure state. It’s got to be maintained in a good state of repair because that is a legal responsibility, its also a moral imperative. We’ve got to look after our customers and our colleagues.
“The second priority is to finish what’s already started. It’d be crazy to start something new if you didn’t have enough funding. Let’s get the Crossrail project finished, let’s get the Elizabeth Line open.”
He added: “We’re not tone deaf. We do know that there is a financial crisis in the country, £2 trillion debt now. So, we won’t be able to do everything.”
Last week, transport secretary Grant Shapps issued guidance to safeguard the proposed Bakerloo route, which would run from the Elephant & Castle to Lewisham via the Old Kent Road and New Cross Gate, so its proposed route is protected from developers. The order includes new tunnels from Lambeth North station, proposed station sites at Tesco on the Old Kent Road and Sainsbury’s at New Cross Gate, a shaft off Lewisham Way, the proposed Lewisham station on Thurston Road, space for sidings off Wearside Road and a possible connection to National Rail lines to Hayes.
Byford also said that TfL was asking the government to do the same with Crossrail 2 so that its proposed route will also be protected. Crossrail 2 is a proposed north-south line linking destinations in Hertfordshire and Surrey via King’s Cross, Victoria and the Kings Road. It was expected to be given the go ahead in the early 2020s with the aim of being operational by the 2030s.
He did not give a timescale for when either project would be completed.
Joe Talora is the Local Democracy Reporter for the Greater London Authority. The Local Democracy Reporter Service is a BBC-funded initiative to ensure councils are covered properly in local media.
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