See How They Run: TPftLA: Chelsea-Hackney (aka Chelney aka Hackney-Southwest aka Kings Line)

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Modification date

Chelsea Hackney/Express Metro from Wimbledon to Epping and Woolwich

2001 Nov 28 up

  • My map is here
  • Rupert Sliwa's page
  • Official map from Transport for London, dated 2001
  • Map from TfL on the BBC website
  • The original proposal dates from before 1930
  • Graeme Wall - "In the London Rail Study, published November 1974, the Chelsea-Hackney line would have taken over the Hainault branch of the Central Line and probably the Wimbledon branch of the District. The cross-London alignment would have been Dalston, Shoreditch Church, Old Street, Farringdon, Holborn, Aldwych, Waterloo, Millbank, Victoria, and Chelsea. The study says it would only have been feasible if CrossRail were not built. Total cost (at 1974 prices) would have been £190 million"
  • In 1989's Central London Rail Study, the Chelsea / Hackney Line (nicknamed Chelney) was a tube-gauge line starting at Wimbledon, replacing District services as far as Parson's Green. It then continued in new tunnel through Central London to Leytonstone. After Leytonstone it would replace the Central Line services via Snaresbrook to Epping. The depot would be near Stratford at Thornton Fields (a stabling facility on the north side of the Great Eastern Mainline, between City Mill River and Waterworks River). Cost at 1989 prices was £1500m
  • In 1991, the 1989 alignment was safeguarded from conflicting construction
  • In 1995, London Underground offered three cheaper alternative routes known as Express Metro for public consultation - these involve mainline gauge routes with less tunnel. Although less direct than the original route, journey times would be similar due to fewer stops. The line would have shared the North London Line tracks east of (approx.) Highbury & Islington
  • In June 1995, Hackney Council gave the following locations for stations in their borough:
    • Dalston: the safeguarded location is on the site of the old Dalston Junction station south of Dalston Lane, between Kingsland Road and Roseberry Place (note: this is a few minutes walk from Dalston Kingsland station)
    • Hackney Central: the enlargement of the current station is safeguarded
    • Homerton: the safeguarded location is on the south side of Homerton High Street, in the Sedgwick Street / Mackintosh Lane area, but Hackney Council wanted the station on the south side of Homerton Grove, between Wardle Street and Brooksby's Walk
  • Kings Road Chelsea station would be at the junction of Kings Road and Sydney Street
  • The safeguarded alignment serves the planned Dalston East London Line station (on the site of the old Dalston Junction station), but the Express Metro alignments serve the Dalston Kingsland North London Line station
  • In July 1998, Wandsworth Council produced a document repeating the 1989 proposal and three 1995 proposals
  • In July 1998, Kensington Council stated that the two routes via Parsons Green are dead, but the two routes via Clapham Junction are still being considered (see below)
  • In 2000, the Millennium Dome Journey Zone contained a model of Tottenham Court Road station with CrossRail and Chelney: the Chelney tunnels would run beneath Soho Square, at the same height as the Northern Line and almost parallel with it
  • In January 2000, London Underground stated that Westminster Council had campaigned for a station at Piccadilly Circus to be brought back into the plan. Due to physical constraints at Piccadilly Circus, building a mainline gauge station there is much more difficult than building a tube gauge station
  • In January 2000, London Underground stated that while earlier plans had involved the Chelney Line taking over the Wimbledon branch, with the District Line terminating at Parsons Green at a "cross-platform interchange", there is no longer any certainty over whether the District will be curtailed or will share track to Wimbledon
  • In January 2000, a London Underground source stated that the Express Metro options in Central and Southwest London were unlikely to come to fruition and that the safeguarded tube-gauge alignment was still alive. A station at Piccadilly Circus was described as a crucial part of the plan. In the east, options such as Chingford and Thamesmead were being considered, while Epping seemed unlikely
  • In early 2000, the name King's line was said to be favoured
  • In June 2000, a report produced for the London Chamber of Commerce by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research stated that a £10000m investment in London's transport would create a jobs boom which would allow the money to be recouped by increased tax receipts within 10 years. Projects listed included the Chelsea Hackney Line and CrossRail. The report was supported by London's Mayor
  • In January 2001, London's Mayor stated that the Hackney-SouthWest Line could possibly open in 2015. A route review was under way by TfL. The safeguarded route between Victoria and Dalston, serving Piccadilly Circus, Tottenham Court Road and King’s Cross was likely to be retained. Beyond Hackney options included Stratford, the Thames Gateway or the Lee Valley. Beyond Victoria, options included Clapham Junction, the Wandle Valley, London’s south-western boroughs and taking over existing overground services or sharing track with them. TfL were to define the route during 2001. The scheme was costed at £4000m (capital expenditure only, 2001 prices)
  • In February 2001, the Strategic Rail Authority advocated a £5300m tunnel opening in 2015-17 which would begin at Raynes Park, near Wimbledon, and pass beneath Clapham Junction and Victoria. Two options were suggested for the northern section: either beneath Liverpool Street to surface at Bow (effectively half of Chelney stitched to half of CrossRail), or beneath King’s Cross, after which the line would split with some trains surfacing at Hackney Wick and others surfacing at Drayton Park. Chelney and CrossRail “cannot be managed in isolation” and should be taken forward together
  • In May 2001, Transport for London gave the cost as £4800m
  • In May 2001, the SRA stated that, in conjunction with Transport for London, they would start a detailed feasibility study of the Wimbledon to Hackney route immediately. The alignment suggested was "a tunnel that connects Wimbledon (portal at Raynes Park) to Leyton (portal at Hackney Wick) and to Finsbury Park (portal at Drayton Park) via Clapham Junction, Victoria, Tottenham Court Road, and Kings Cross. This would allow South West Trains to connect to the Central line and routes to the North". Construction was expected to start in 2011 and end in 2017. Indicative service patterns were given as follows ("substituted" means that an existing service would be replaced by a Chelney service)
    • Branches of the Metro option:
      • Northeast to Hainault via Woodford (4tph substituted)
      • Northeast to Epping via Woodford (8tph substituted)
      • Northeast to High Barnet via Finsbury Park and Highgate High Level (8 tph substituted)
      • Northeast to East Finchley via Finsbury Park and Highgate High Level (4tph new)
      • Southwest to the Hounslow/Richmond Loop (4tph each way round the loop: half new, half substituted)
      • Southwest to the Kingston/Richmond Loop (2tph clockwise only, substituted)
      • Southwest to Shepperton, route unspecified (2tph substituted)
      • Southwest to Hampton Court (4tph: half new, half substituted)
      • Southwest to Chessington South (4tph: half new, half substituted)
      • Southwest to Epsom via Wimbledon (4tph: half new, half substituted)
      • Extra non-Chelney services: Heathrow to Waterloo (4tph), Woking to Waterloo (6 tph), Hainault via Newbury Park to Ealing/Ruislip (8tph), and East Finchley to Morden (8tph)
    • Branches of the Express option: (Editor's note: this option seems to have NO Thameslink 2000 services via Finsbury Park)
      • Northeast to Hainault via Woodford (4tph substituted)
      • Northeast to Epping via Woodford (8tph substituted)
      • Northeast to Peterborough (4tph substituted)
      • Northeast to Cambridge via Finsbury Park (3tph substituted)
      • Northeast to Kings Lynn via Finsbury Park (1tph substituted)
      • Northeast to Letchworth via Finsbury Park (4tph: half substituted, half new)
      • Southwest to the Hounslow/Richmond Loop (4tph each way round the loop: half new, half substituted)
      • Southwest to Heathrow via Feltham and Clapham Junction (4tph new)
      • Southwest to Farnham and Alton via Surbiton (4tph substituted)
      • Southwest to Basingstoke via Surbiton (4tph: half substituted, half new)
      • Southwest to Southampton, via Surbiton (2 new)
      • Southwest to Portsmouth via Surbiton (2 new)
      • Extra non-Chelney services: Epsom to Waterloo (2 tph), Chessington to Waterloo (2 tph), Hampton Court to Waterloo (2 tph), Bedford to Thameslink (4 tph), Luton to Thameslink (4 tph), Hainault via Newbury Park to Ealing/Ruislip (8 tph)
  • In November 2001, it was reported that Aecom Maunsell had been awarded a contract to start two viability studies: one on the route between Wimbledon and Victoria, and the other on the route between Victoria and Dalston. The reports were expected to be published in October 2002
  • See also various failed bids to take over the South West Trains franchise

See How They Run: TPftLA: © 1998-2001