See How They Run: TPftLA: London CrossRail

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Modification date

CrossRail: Reading and Aylesbury to Shenfield via Bond Street

2001 Nov 28 up

  • My map
  • Official Transport For London Map, dated 2001
  • Map from TfL on the BBC website
  • Engineering diagrams and visualisations at Dr G Sauer website
  • CrossRail office Tel: +44 (0)20 7918 0591
  • Corporation of London CrossRail contacts:
    • Fiona Milligan Tel: +44 (0)20 7332 3451 or Tel: +44 (0)7889 167203
    • Lee Findell Tel: +44 (0)20 7332 3450 or Tel: +44 (0)7971 561691
  • This is a scheme similar to the RER in Paris, linking Great Eastern Railway services with Thames Trains and Chiltern services via a tunnel from east of Liverpool Street to west of Paddington. The line would have new tunnelled underground stations at Liverpool Street/Moorgate, Farringdon/Barbican, Tottenham Court Road, Bond Street and a cut and cover station at Paddington. Trains for the Chiltern Line (via Amersham) were to branch away in Acton onto a new curve to the currently unelectrified Dudding Hill freight line which passes near Harlesden station, before reaching Wembley Park by a modified junction near Neasden station (that alignment is shown in Baker's Rail Atlas). However, by early 2001 the Strategic Rail Authority were discussing a £600m tunnel from Acton to Neasden instead of using the Dudding Hill freight line
  • Models of all 5 proposed Central London stations and a full-size mock-up CrossRail carriage from the late 1980s or early 1990s are on display at The Depot (part of the LT Museum). The mock-up train contains route maps which show interchanges only. The trains will have toilets
  • Trains would travel at 100 mph on the surface and at 60 mph in the tunnel
  • Paddington: the platform would be a "cut and cover" island beneath Eastbourne Terrace, although the running tunnels will have been cut through from the western end long before the station is dug down from the surface. The platforms will have an entrance at the western end for Hammersmith & City line interchange, and an entrance at the eastern end for other interchanges
  • Bond Street station would have entrances at Bond Street station and Hanover Square. Hanover Square is a short walk from Oxford Circus station, but a direct interchange with the Victoria and other lines there has been ruled out due to the cost of altering that complex station. The ticket hall had been intended to be built under the square itself, but by 2001 the plan was to demolish two modern buildings on the side of the square
  • Tottenham Court Road station would have an entrance at the Astoria (connected underground to the tube station), and another at the junction of Dean Street and Oxford Street
  • Farringdon/Barbican: A 32-metre escalator rise at the Barbican end of the tunnelled station would be the longest escalator in Britain. Passengers interchanging with the Underground lines would be encouraged to change at Barbican instead of Farringdon in order to equalise crowds at the two ends of the station. Architects Jestico+Whiles designed the station
  • Liverpool Street/Moorgate: a development threatened to encroach on the Moorgate end, but interchange with the other lines there is guaranteed
  • In 1993, planned peak service in the central area was 24 trains per hour (the signalling would allow 30 8-carriage tph or 24 12-carriage tph). Suggested suburban frequencies in the peak direction were
    • Amersham 10tph: Aylesbury 4tph
    • Hayes 14tph: Slough 10tph: Maidenhead 6tph: Reading 4tph (note that the 4 tph terminating at Hayes were surreptitiously planned to extend to Heathrow)
    • Ilford 24tph: Chadwell Heath 22tph: Gidea Park 18tph: Brentwood 8tph: Shenfield 4tph
  • A 1993 brochure gave the following journey times:
    • Aylesbury - Paddington: 50 minutes (a 14 minute reduction)
    • Rickmansworth - Bond Street: 29 minutes (a 10 minute reduction)
    • Chalfont - Farringdon: 36 minutes (a 12 minute reduction)
    • Twyford - Bond Street: 35 minutes (an 18 minute reduction)
    • Slough - Farringdon: 30 minutes (a 10 minute reduction)
    • Maidenhead - Tottenham Court Road: 34 minutes (a 14 minute reduction)
    • West Ealing - Liverpool Street: 20 minutes (a 20 minute reduction)
    • Ilford - Farringdon: 14 minutes (a 10 minute reduction)
    • Manor Park - Tottenham Court Road: 16 minutes (a 15 minute reduction)
    • Stratford - Paddington: 15 minutes (an 18 minute reduction)
  • In 1998, the Corporation of London produced a CrossRail brochure which gave the following journey times:
    • Ealing to Moorgate: 16 minutes (a 14 minute reduction)
    • Amersham - Tottenham Court Road: 35 minutes (an 18 minute reduction)
    • Hayes - Farringdon: 19 minutes (a 19 minute reduction)
    • Harrow - Tottenham Court Road: 18 minutes (a 12 minute reduction)
    • Romford - Bond Street: 28 minutes (a 13 minute reduction)
    • Ilford - Paddington: 22 minutes (a 16 minute reduction)
    • Reading - Stratford: 48 minutes (a 19 minute reduction)
  • In January 2001, London's Mayor stated that journey times between Southall and Tottenham Court Road would be cut from 42 to 21 minutes, and rail / Underground capacity in Central London would be increased by about 10%


  • Platforms on the underground section would be 283 metres long and 5.5 metres wide (for comparison, a Central Line platform might be 134 metres long and 3 metres wide). Although long enough for 12-car trains, platforms may initially be fitted out for 8-car trains only. Paddington would have an island platform
  • In the early 1990s, all existing surface stations were planned to be lengthened to take 8 cars, except for Aylesbury, Maidenhead, Ealing Broadway, Stratford and Shenfield. Northwood would have new platforms built on the fast lines. Wembley Park would have 2 new platforms on the fast lines and a new ticket hall. Rickmansworth station would have to be relocated to the east, because of track curvature and the need for reversing facilities
  • The entire route would use overhead electrification: wires would be fitted above existing railways between Reading and Hayes, between Aylesbury and Chalfont & Latimer and between Chesham and Neasden. (The freight line through Harlesden would probably have already been electrified for Heathrow to St Pancras services). The existing four rail electrification on the fast lines between Amersham/Chesham and Harrow would probably be scrapped, since these tracks would no longer be used for London Underground services
  • In the early 1990s, the tunnel alignment was planned to pass under the Circle at Paddington, over the Central Line east of Lancaster Gate, over the Jubilee Line at Bond Street, under the Victoria and Bakerloo lines south of Oxford Circus, over the Northern Line at Tottenham Court Road, over the Central, Piccadilly and disused Aldwych lines at Holborn, under the Post Office Railway at Farringdon, under the Circle between Farringdon and Moorgate, under the Northern and Post Office Railway at Moorgate, under the Central at Liverpool Street and over the Post Office Railway at Shoreditch
  • In early 2001, the tunnel was planned to run beneath Phase 3 of the Paddington Basin redevelopment
  • In the early 1990s, the tunnel was planned to come to the surface in the vicinity of Shoreditch East London Line station and would cut through the alignment of the East London Line, necessitating the closure of the Shoreditch branch. Shoreditch was already planned to close under the East London Line Extension plans. The CrossRail and Extended East London Line alignments would both be rising at a gradient of 1:30 where they crossed, so subsequent construction of an interchange would not be possible
  • In early 2001, the eastern tunnel portal was more likely to be at Bow Junction instead of Bethnal Green
  • The layout of tracks in the Paddington area was designed to allow Heathrow Express services to become part of CrossRail: however, subsequent plans for Heathrow to St Pancras services could conflict with this in the Old Oak Common area


  • In early 1991, stations at Holborn (Central and Piccadilly Lines) and Bishopsgate (East London and Central Lines) were removed from the plan
  • Heathrow and Chesham were added to the planned destinations sometime between 1991 and 1993
  • In 1993, glossy brochures detailing the train design and layout of the interchange passages at Tottenham Court Road were distributed
  • In 1994, the November 1991 bill seeking the powers to build the line was rejected by a transport sub-committee of 4 Members of Parliament
  • In April 1996, the (Conservative) Secretary of State asked that the scheme be taken forward after the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and Thameslink 2000 schemes. This would imply a start of construction in 2003 or later
  • In November 1996, London Transport described "possible" CrossRail destinations as Stansted and Hertford East (via Stratford and Tottenham Hale), Southend Victoria (via Shenfield), Southend Central (via Stratford and Barking), and Milton Keynes (travelling from the Aylesbury branch to the West Coast Mainline near Harlesden)
  • In July 1998, Harrow Council stated that the project is "suspended", but the route remains safeguarded. The project once had a staff of 250: in early 1999, the staff numbered 10
  • In July 1998, the Corporation of London stated that "The business City is keen to see CrossRail built, and CrossRail can healthily stand alone as a private sector venture that covers its costs"
  • In January 1999, a senior Corporation of London source stated that CrossRail was being delayed by government ministers who fear that abstracting 40% of the passengers from the Central Line will harm the privatisation prospects of the Underground. Corporation officials were close to securing a £2700m private finance deal to build and run the line, but had been unable to secure a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister. The government denied stalling
  • By mid 1999, an alternative way of connecting Paddington services to the Circle Line was being proposed: this was scrapped in November 1999
  • In July 1999, the government stated that the route via Bond Street is still protected and that London's new Mayor (who was subsequently elected in May 2000) would decide on the project's future
  • In September 1999, an alternative way of connecting Marylebone services to the Circle Line was briefly proposed
  • In November 1999, the Corporation of London predicted that CrossRail would deliver a profit of £800m per year by the middle of a 50 year concession
  • In 2000, the Millennium Dome Journey Zone contained a model of Tottenham Court Road station with CrossRail and the Hackney-Southwest Line
  • In mid 2000, Railtrack produced a map showing "alternative" CrossRail destinations as Oxford (via Reading), Heathrow and further (via Airtrack), High Wycombe (via the line that passes Perivale station), Stansted (via Stratford and Tottenham Hale), Southend (via Shenfield) and Norwich (via Shenfield). Service through Wembley Park and Harrow to Aylesbury was absent from the map
  • In mid 2000, Railtrack stated that construction would take 5½ years, not including preliminary work
  • In July 2000, Transport for London stated that a Transport & Works Act application would be made within 6 months
  • In August 2000, Chiltern Railways won a 20-year franchise extension and stated that it planned to play a major rτle in the development of CrossRail: like Railtrack's recent maps, Chiltern's maps showed CrossRail via Perivale instead of Harrow
  • In November 2000, the Strategic Rail Authority was preparing a report on CrossRail to give to the government
  • In November 2000, the Franchise Executive stated that if the version of CrossRail which utilised the Perivale alignment went ahead, it is very likely that capacity on the Sudbury alignment would be available for Chiltern Metro
  • In November 2000, Railtrack announced that they would spend £5000m upgrading the Great Western line from Paddington to the West of England and Wales, and that to minimise disruption caused by work at Paddington they would bring CrossRail forward by a number of years
  • In January 2001, London's Mayor stated that early evaluation of the potential integration benefits of CrossRail was a key transport priority, and threatened to refuse planning permission for CrossRail if it didn't serve Heathrow (note that BAA's Heathrow transport plans were ignoring CrossRail, and the Strategic Rail Authority's recent report had suggested that CrossRail should focus on commuters and not serve Heathrow). TfL were expected to agree with the SRA on the definition of the project in 2001 and to deposit a Transport and Works Order or a Hybrid Bill in 2002. On this basis the line could open in 2010
  • In February 2001, a report commissioned by the Corporation of London ( available as a pdf file and summarised by the Corporation in another pdf file) showed that the case for CrossRail (serving Harrow-on-the-Hill, not High Wycombe) was stronger than ever, as the predicted ratio of benefit over cost had risen from 1.7 in 1996 to 2.5 in 2001. CrossRail was expected to accommodate 187 million passengers per annum or 600000 passengers per weekday, adding 15% more seats to all existing rail arrivals in Central London. The Corporation stated that £140m had already been spent on CrossRail
  • In February 2001, the Strategic Rail Authority said that CrossRail and some version of the Hackney-Southwest Line "cannot be managed in isolation" and the two should be taken forward together
  • In March 2001, a London Underground source stated that CrossRail was expected to have complicated stopping patterns (Editors note: presumably in the open-air sections only). There would be no more Marylebone services via Harrow-on-the-Hill, and CrossRail would take over the Chiltern tracks from Neasden to south of Wembley Park, and also take over the Metropolitan fast tracks from south of Wembley Park to Moor Park. The Chiltern tracks from south of Wembley Park to Harrow-on-the-Hill, including the Chiltern platforms at Harrow-on-the-Hill, would become disused. All Metropolitan services would call at Wembley Park, Preston Road and Northwick Park
  • In March 2001, the Park Royal Partnership's Draft Transport Strategy "presumed" that CrossRail would not include the Wembley Park / Aylesbury Line due to light traffic west of Rickmansworth, with little hope of increased traffic due to severe planning constraints in the Chilterns. CrossRail was instead "presumed" to serve Willesden Junction, Harlesden and Stonebridge Park. An option was for all Bakerloo trains to be extended to / curtailed at Willesden Junction, leaving the "DC" lines north of Willesden Junction to be shared by CrossRail and Euston services. Connection to the "Slow Lines" north of Willesden Junction and running CrossRail services to Milton Keynes was also an option
  • In May 2001, the Strategic Rail Authority proposed in their London East-West Study with Appendices "that this project is taken forward to the project definition and design development stage immediately". A service pattern focusing on Greater London (Shenfield and Tilbury to Slough and Amersham, Amersham trains using a new tunnel from Old Oak to Neasden rather than the Dudding Hill freight line) would be taken forward as it would make a greater contribution to social objectives and would be likely to have higher levels of reliability than a service pattern focusing on the Home Counties (Colchester and Southend Victoria to Reading and High Wycombe, using the route through Perivale). (Editors note: no indication was given about whether the tunnel from Old Oak to Neasden would serve Willesden Junction.) The Great Western Mainline would be 6-tracked from Acton to Airport Junction: this was expected to be constructed from 2004 to 2007 at a cost of £550m. The SRA were not keen on CrossRail serving Heathrow, but talked of a possible cross-platform interchange between CrossRail and Heathrow trains at Hayes. In order to have room for the CrossRail trains between Stratford and Forest Gate, all freight trains would have to be removed from the Woodgrange Park - Forest Gate route and diverted over an upgraded Gospel Oak - Barking Line. Construction of a flyover at Forest Gate Junction, where the Shenfield and Tilbury CrossRail branches would split, was expected to last from 2010 to 2014. Approved under the TWA procedure, it would be about 13 years before CrossRail could open, so the SRA recommended that a hybrid bill could speed the process by 2 years. The eastern portal for the Central London tunnel could be at Bow Junction instead of Shoreditch: this would be more expensive but would improve capacity. Peak services preferred were: (substitute means that an existing service would become a CrossRail service)
    • 4 tph Aylesbury (all substituted)
    • 8 tph Amersham ( 6 substituted, 2 new)
    • 4 tph Slough (3 substituted, 1 new)
    • 8 tph Heathrow (all new)
    • 2 tph Chelmsford (1 substituted, 1 new)
    • 10 tph Shenfield (all substituted)
    • 4 tph Shenfield/Gidea Park (all substituted)
    • 8 tph Pitsea (6 substituted, 2 new)
    • Extra non-CrossRail services: High Wycombe – Marylebone (4 tph), Hammersmith – Aldgate (4 tph), Southend – Fenchurch Street (2 tph), Enfield – Liverpool Street (2 tph), Hertford East – Liverpool Street (2 tph), Chingford – Liverpool Street (2 tph)
  • In May 2001, the government granted £150m for "project definition and design development work, which is due to start immediately", thus reviving the project after a 7 year coma
  • In May 2001, Transport for London gave the cost as £3800m
  • In June 2001, Modern Railways reported that the Strategic Rail Authority was safeguarding capacity on the Lea Valley route (from Stratford northward towards Tottenham Hale / Seven Sisters) for CrossRail services
  • In August 2001, London's Mayor supported "Superlink", whereby CrossRail would serve Canary Wharf. The Corporation of London opposed Superlink, ostensibly because this would delay CrossRail
  • By October 2001, the Cross London Rail Company had been set up and a chairman had been selected
  • On 22nd October 2001, London's transport commissioner was reported to have demanded an immediate start on Cross-Rail and Thameslink 2000, but three days later was reported to have warned that CrossRail and Thameslink 2000 must take second place to rebuilding and improving the existing network. There was not the expertise to do both, and investors scared by the recent collapse of Railtrack meant that there wasn't the cash to both either
  • On 1st November 2001, the Corporation of London replied to Canary Wharf's scheme (renamed "Supermetro") by publishing results of an independent report from Halcrow which showed how the original CrossRail project could be built with a minor modification to allow a link to Canary Wharf and beyond to be added at a later date. The delay and increase in cost over the original scheme would be "relatively modest"

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