London's Elizabeth Line, still known to many as Crossrail, isn't set to be fully operational until next December when the Reading service opens its doors, but there are already plans to extend the line. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has just confirmed TfL is in talks to extend the line eastwards towards Ebbsfleet in Kent.
Khan confirmed the news when answering questions from London assembly members, revealing TfL was in talks with National Rail to extend the section of the Elizabeth line that currently terminates in Abbey Wood. He did, however, make it clear that these talks are still in the very early stages, so nothing is definite.
"Options to extend the Elizabeth line from Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet are still being developed and engagement with the rail industry is in its early stages.
Transport for London has started discussions with Network Rail as the infrastructure owner of the mainline national railway network and, once proposals have progressed sufficiently, will engage with other freight and passenger operators, most likely once the new Southeastern franchise has commenced later this year.”
Khan was also asked whether an extension would require brand new tracks, or whether it would rely on existing infrastructure. His response was that options were "still being developed", and nothing is set in stone. He added that everything would depend on finding a successful business case for the extension, along with actually being able to find funding to pay for everything.
Khan clarified that the extension would not rely on existing plans for Crossrail 2 and the Bakerloo Line extension being completed first, and that it would all come down to viability and affordability.
Extending to Ebbsfleet would add a further 28km to the route, with proposed stops in Dartford and Bexley. [Construction News]