London Transport Update
London Reconnections has recently come out with a comprehensive article detailing the status of various TfL-run projects. I highly recommend reading it to get a sense of how things are progressing. Here is the link:
Unfortunately, some of the recurring themes include a consistent delay in project delivery, with virtually every scheme exhibiting serious problems with sticking to deadlines, as well as the looming threat that TfL has no money to fund its ambitious plans.
For example, Holborn station will not be made step-free until 2029 while Camden Town now stands to be completed in 2026, meaning that chances for widespread new step-free access works in Central London after the Elizabeth Line and current works are complete are extremely thin. If it takes 11 years for an important station like Holborn, which has been in planning for several years, to be redeveloped, how many more years will it take to plan, fund, and deliver similar (and expensive) schemes at other important stations such as Baker Street, Leicester Square, Charing Cross and the remaining lines at Waterloo?
Despite this, it is good to see that the works at Victoria and Bank’s W&C line (both already delayed by several months), are slowly inching towards the finish line. In the case of Bank, it may actually make sense for its new entrance to open a year late by December, as that is when the new step-free entrance at Waterloo is expected to open (barring any likely delays).
One thing that was not mentioned in this article is the Mayor’s step-free station programme, which has been confirmed to have a total of 30 stations. So far, 23 stations have been announced, with the final 7 expected this summer (any day now). The programme has so far been successful, with early victories at Buckhurst Hill and advanced work at Newbury Park, but the challenge is to keep the pressure on the remaining schemes, most of which are due to start work imminently. The completion of the whole programme is expected to be 2022, so it will be interesting to see if this date slips like so many others have.
Not a whole lot of good news from this update, but the projects move on. Finally, TfL has put an incredible amount of faith on the Elizabeth Line to fix, or at least alleviate, its financial woes, so its success will be crucial for the planning and funding of ongoing and future projects. Don’t mess this up!