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1999-12-01 SRA-001
Shadow Strategic Rail Authority


Integrating London’s rail services

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Shadow Strategic Rail Authority

Integrating London’s rail services

1 December 1999
source Shadow Strategic Rail Authority
type Press release

The Shadow Strategic Rail Authority (SSRA), this morning welcomed the Deputy Prime Minister’s early decision to refer to the SSRA the prospective integration of suburban surface rail routes with London’s sub-surface rail system.

SSRA Chairman, Sir Alastair Morton said:

"Mr. Prescott has wisely separated the integration issues from the PPP for maintenance of the LUL sub-surface routes. The inevitable consequence is that Railtrack and LUL end their useful discussions of the North-South route and possible East-West routes through London. The SSRA will now take those studies forward briskly, with Railtrack, LUL and interested users."

Two Reviews

As the Deputy Prime Minister noted, good progress in the talks about the East London line has shown there is scope for further North-South integration across the Thames. The SSRA’s review of that line will take just a few months, but will aim to select the best way to integrate services to the south and to the north of London.

The East-West study will be on a different scale. Sir Alastair said:

"From the start of the Railtrack-LUL talks, fitting their propositions into the problems of congested lines to the west and possibly north west of Paddington were at the forefront of our minds. The tragedy at Ladbroke Grove gave further urgency to the need to take a fully-rounded view of solutions to that congestion, incorporating but not limited to integration of surface and sub-surface lines. That cannot be done in a few months."

The SSRA will report back to the Deputy Prime Minister when its more extensive review is complete.

The Future

Commenting further, Sir Alastair said this morning:

"We at the SSRA want to enhance the Thameslink route. That is in hand at last and we are at the heart of it. We also want to enhance the West London Line (Clapham Junction to Willesden) and the East London line, all three serving to integrate better the rail network North-South across the Thames. I recall that in 1988 the BR Board was divided over the viability of Thameslink. Now it is one of the most congested routes in Britain!"

"Looking at the inadequate East-West route structure, we have to accommodate more freight, more Heathrow trains, the arrival of Eurostar services to St. Pancras and strongly increasing demand for suburban and longer-distance services from west, north west and north of London. To meet all that we have the inadequate North London Line, congested approaches to the London termini and the attractive but still distant prospect of integration with the London Underground or conceivably with Crossrail to provide through services East-West. At best we can get it through the long planning process, designed and built by the time of the first review date on the PPP, say seven or eight years from now. Heavy investment in London’s rail routes will be essential to cope with anticipated growth."

Railhub Archive ::: 1999-12-01 SRA-001


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