The £4 billion extension plans to expand the current Bakerloo line from Elephant and Castle to Lewisham and potentially further have been put on hold “indefinitely”, Transport for London has announced.
Transport for London (TfL) Commissioner Andy Byford confirmed the halt of both the Bakerloo line and Crossrail 2 at the London Assembly Transport Committee meeting in the second week of March.
The announcement came following a question from Labours Joanne McCartney over the impact of Covid-19 on major transport projects.
Byford added: “We’re not saying we don’t want to do them.”
He did not give a time frame for when all the £36bn projects are expected to recommence.
However, TfL’s Chief Financial Officer Simon Kilonback said in the organisation’s meeting on March 10: “The Bakerloo line extension is something that we won’t see in the next decade.”
Byford listed the economic effects of the pandemic as the contributing factor in the decision: “We’re not tone deaf. We do know that there is a financial crisis in the country, £32 trillion debt now. So, we won’t be able to do everything.”
He added that their top priority is to “keep the existing system in a safe and secure state”.
“It’d be crazy to start something new if you didn’t have enough funding. Let’s get the Crossrail project finished, lets get the Elizabeth Line open.”
The proposal for the extension was first put forward in 2014, driven by the goal to better connect South-East London to the rest of the city and support London’s forecasted population growth of over 10 million more people by 2030.
Delayed but not cancelled
The news comes just one week after Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps issued guidance to safeguard the land proposed to be used in the extension from Elephant and Castle through to Lewisham, in order to ensure no other use of the land would be permitted.
The recent move by Shapps however is a reassuring sign that the £4bn Bakerloo extension has simply been delayed rather than cancelled.
The project includes plans for new tunnels from Lambeth North station and proposed stations at the sites of Old Kent Road Tesco, New Cross Gate Sainsbury’s and a Lewisham station on Thurston road.
Following the safeguarding plans Hedi Alexander, London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport, Kieron Williams, leader of Southwark Council and Damien Egan, Mayor of Lewisham released a joint statement commending the proposal stating:
“Today is a major milestone for the Bakerloo line extension. The safeguarding directions will prevent premature development on sites required for the project and enable us to deliver this vital project when the time is right.
“Extending the Bakerloo line and upgrading the existing line will connect a historically underserved part of London to the Tube network, while unlocking thousands of new homes that London desperately needs and supporting new jobs.
” We will continue to work with the Government and others on options for funding so this scheme can be delivered and its many benefits realised.”
The council has claimed that the planned extension would offer the potential for another 27,500 new homes and 6,000 new jobs. You can read the full proposal for the extension of the Bakerloo line here.