CWL 2018: Finish Crossrail and put West London Orbital on the agenda

Delivering the delayed Elizabeth/Crossrail Line could open up an opportunity for West London’s orbital Overground line.

A panel debate at the Capital West London Growth Summit discussed the possibility of the West London Orbital with the consensus that it could only become a possibility once the Crossrail route, now known as the Elizabeth Line, had been fully opened.

Although trains are already running on parts of the route, the central section connecting Ealing to Tottenham Court Road and Stratford, has been delayed by a year and will not open until autumn 2019.

When asked about the West London Orbital, Graeme Craig, Director of Commercial Development, Transport for London, said: “The place to start is getting the Elizabeth Line open.

“We need to get it open not just for homes and jobs and the importance of the London economy but because it’s another reminder that investment in infrastructure pays back. Time and time again, London shows the benefits of investment in transport. We need to continue to emphasise that.”

Councillor Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, agreed and added: “If we can get the high ticket projects coming online and finished, it’s a great opportunity for West London. We have to be ready with our strategy.”

Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor of London for Transport, said that orbital trains on the East London Line, had already transformed parts of London but she added: “West London Orbital has no funding in place and we need to work on that.”

However, Martyn Saunders, Director, Regeneration & Spatial Planning at GVA, said that major infrastructure projects were long-term and it would be better to make “incremental changes” in the short-term such as securing funding for Old Oak that could make a major difference to the area.

“We can deliver this well and at high density, regenerating parts of West London that are quite far away from major Crossrail stations. We should use the assets we already have, tweak them, ramp them up and we will see growth,” he said.

He added that the orbital issue wasn’t just focused on Central London but about connecting key economic centres in West London.

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