New Tube line to cost £1bn

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The Independent Online
BY SIMON MIDGLEY

Work on building a new Tube line linking south-west London with the north-east of the capital could start by 2000 if plans to relieve congestion are approved.

Yesterday London Underground unveiled four possible routes for the line running south to north from Wimbledon to Hackney, and three possible routes from Hackney Central, running north to Epping, east to Stratford or south to Woolwich.

Plans for a line to link the south-western and north-eastern suburbs of London via the West End were first proposed almost 50 years ago and a possible route, known as the Chelsea-Hackney line, from Wimbledon to Leytonstone, was identified and safeguarded in 1991.

Now, however, London Underground are examining new options in the light of changed economic circumstances, passenger growth forecasts and technological change.

It is consulting the London boroughs affected by its proposals, the statutory planning authorities and other interested parties.

The original route from Wimbledon in the south-west to Epping in the north-east would involve constructing a new 11.7-mile tunnel under central London. It would cost between £2.4bn and £2.8bn and take over the existing District Line service in the south-west and the Central Line service to Epping.

New underground stations would be built on the King's Road in Chelsea and at Essex Road, Dalston, Hackney and Homerton. The line would include stops at Sloane Square, Victoria, Piccadilly Circus, Tottenham Court Road, King's Cross and Angel.

The new proposals for an alternative south-west to north- east route, which would also start at Wimbledon and take over the District Line service to East Putney, could be built at about half of the cost of the original proposal. This option involves three possible routes in the south-west, as well as three possible routes in the north-east.

The Battersea option would involve travelling from East Putney via Wandsworth Town and Clapham Junction through a new station on the site of the old Battersea Power Station before continuing to Victoria. The estimated cost of this option, which would require 6.4 miles of tunnel, is £1.1bn to £1.5bn at 1994 prices.

The Chelsea option would involve travelling from East Putney via Wandsworth Town and Clapham Junction through new stations at Chelsea Harbour and the King's Road before continuing to Victoria. The estimated cost of this option, which involves 6.6 miles of new tunnel, is £1.3bn to £1.7bn.

The Fulham option would involve travelling from East Putney to Parsons Green through a new station on the King's Road and then on to Victoria. The estimated cost of this option, which would involve 6.7 miles of new tunnel, is £1.2bn to £1.6bn.

In the north-east there are also three options: travelling to Epping via Leytonstone on Central Line tracks, to Stratford or south to Woolwich via Stratford.

Yesterday, Bill Clarke, LU's railway extensions director, emphasised that these plans were not set in stone, and that their final shape would depend on the outcome of consultations.

The objectives of the Chelsea-Hackney line are to increase the capacity of London's rail system, serve new areas of London, such as Chelsea, Dalston and Hackney, relieve congestion on the Victoria Line and ease traveller pressure on King's Cross/ St Pancras.

nEuropean Passenger Services yesterday announced additional new fares for its London to Paris and Brussels Eurostar passenger train service via the Channel tunnel.

From Tuesday, there will be a new Apex weekend standard class ticket priced at £79 to Brussels and £84 to Paris. A new weekend return to both capitals involving an overnight stay will be £125.

There are also special new fares to Holland for senior citizens, young people and accompanied children.

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