I recently met with the Chairman of Crossrail, Terry Morgan, to discuss the progress that Europe’s largest infrastructure project is making and in particular what Crossrail will bring to the table in terms of benefits to my constituents in Ealing Southall.
I was pleased to hear that the project remains on time and within budget and has now progressed beyond the halfway mark in terms of completion. During the discussions Terry showed me some of the remarkable images that document the incredible engineering feats that are being achieved on the project.
It is clear that Crossrail is a much needed addition to London’s public transport system. I have always supported the principles of the project which will deliver ten per cent extra capacity to London’s rail network overnight, handle approximately 200 million journeys per year and see 24 trains an hour travelling in both directions in the new tunnels currently being dug underneath the streets of London by 2018.
I was particularly keen to get an update from Terry about Crossrail’s plans for Southall station and in particular to understand in greater detail the benefits that Crossrail will bring to my constituents and more widely the borough of Ealing.
Crossrail will open Southall up to key locations in central London including the West End, the City and Canary Wharf without the need to change trains. With ten trains an hour during peak times Bond Street will be only 17 minutes away on a Crossrail train, Liverpool Street 24 minutes and Canary Wharf 31 minutes. Crossrail will decrease the current journey time to Canary Wharf from Southall by 20 minutes.
There is also evidence that the addition of Crossrail to Southall is encouraging significant investment in the area. A study by property consultants, GVA, commissioned by Crossrail, looking at communities along the route found that Southall was a ‘Place to Watch’ with high growth potential. It is clear on the ground that Crossrail is a key driver of regeneration in Southall.
The station itself will benefit from a new passenger concourse based on a light and spacious contemporary building design that will help to reduce congestion at peak times. In addition, works at Southall will include platform lengthening to accommodate Crossrail’s 200 metre long trains which will allow much needed extra capacity to the station, new lifts facilitating step free access for the first time and additional cycle facilities for people that wish to travel to the station by bicycle.
The design for the new ticket hall is due to shortly be submitted to Ealing Council’s Planning Committee ahead of formal approval later this year. Construction work is expected to take just over a year with the first Crossrail trains arriving in Southall in 2018 and the connection through to central London commencing in 2019.