With the number of passengers travelling into London, especially at peak times, set to grow significantly by 2031, Network Rail’s London and South East Route Utilisation Strategy identifies ways to boost capacity, improve journeys and increase connectivity across the region.
Produced in partnership with the rest of the rail industry, the Department for Transport and Transport for London, the strategy builds on existing plans for major schemes such as the Crossrail and Thameslink programmes, as well as ongoing train and platform lengthening works and many other projects to increase capacity on some of the country’s busiest rail routes.
The strategy restates many previously published recommendations which, in many cases, are still required to accommodate forecast peak demand. It also sets out new interventions, for which it has sought to avoid major capital expenditure unless absolutely necessary. These include extra commuter services between the Thames Valley and Paddington, extra services on the Great Eastern Main Line into Liverpool Street, additional trains on the Lea Valley line into Stratford, more trains on the Windsor lines into Waterloo and longer trains on orbital routes.
The RUS also recommends further planning for new routes in the London area – for example improving services to Heathrow with a new western rail access, potential future extension of Crossrail services onto the West Coast Main Line and to Reading and, in the longer term, a Crossrail 2 line under the capital. These last two in particular are indicative of a new approach which aims to increase connectivity across London, rather than see most rail journeys end, as they traditionally have, at terminus stations on the fringes of central London.
The London & South East RUS may be found at: www.networkrail.co.uk/aspx/4449.aspx