Streatham Action's Transport Meeting in December was attended by over 100 people, and passion around the issue of bringing the underground to Streatham in the form of Crossrail 2 clearly identified it as the number one transport priority for Streatham. Residents have been consistently let down on transport links, and it is important that any future Mayor responds seriously to their concerns by bringing Crossrail2 to Streatham as the keystone of suburban rail services in the area soon to be devolved to the TfL-run Overground network.
We welcome rail devolution, but share the Evening Standard's worries; "Huge sums would still be needed to bring the network up to scratch, especially across South London where demand is highest, at a time when TfL's finances will be under pressure."
Momentum has been building in Streatham Action's campaign, and over 3,000 people (online and on paper) have signed the petition calling on CR2, TfL and the GLA to analyse a CR2 route that replaces Balham station with Streatham.
Neil Salt, chairman of the Streatham Action transport group said: “I should like to thank Streatham residents for their tremendous support." The Group of volunteers have worked tirelessly over the Christmas holidays to ensure CR2 chiefs have received full business case submissions in response to Calls for Evidence from the Growth Commission, the Infrastructure Commission, and the latest CR2 Consultation that ended on 8th January (available at www.streathamaction.org.uk). Adding to the strength of the case, the latest user figures for Streatham station alone showed a staggering 58% increase since Crossrail2 did any modelling for any route including Streatham back in 2009-11!
Among the crucial facts in the case are;
- Streatham's Population has increased beyond expectations since Crossrail2 considered Streatham (graph here)
- Station use has soared, against the trend indicated when Crossrail2 last modelled any Streatham route (graph here)
- TfL has NEVER investigated the impact of many thousands of people travelling from and through Streatham stations by all modes of transport to join the underground network every day.
It is now crucial that TFL investigates the full potential for a station at Streatham to relieve crowding on the Northern and Victoria Lines to avoid missing the once-in-a-generation chance to correct the omissions of the past and avoid what would be a multi-billion pound mistake in the CR2 route if Streatham's case was ignored, not just in terms of transport infrastructure, but in the opportunity for regeneration and new homes (considerably more affordable than in Balham) in our area, a Major Town Centre in Zone 3.
Chuka Umunna has signed the Streatham Action petition, and both that he and Lambeth Council have submitted responses to the CR2 consultation. Their support should be a powerful combination to influence senior management of CR2.
Turning South London Orange
Thameslink and Southern will come under the Mayor's control when their franchises expire in 2021. Devolution is a first step in the right direction, but it is no panacea for Streatham's problems.
The Centre for London's recent report "Turning South London Orange" acknowledged railway devolution as the first step in their proposal for solving the predicted doubling of demand for rail services by 2050, via better trains, automation, rack improvements, & technology. BUT the network ends at London Bridge and Victoria, with only Thameslink going through Central London, so it's likely the plan would result in intolerable demand on the underground system at Victoria and London Bridge.
Relief could be provided by siting a Crossrail2 station at Streatham as the foundation for the future Overground in South London.
TSLO would also not be cheap. Costs are estimated at between £10-£15 billion over 25 years - an investment TfL may struggle with, given cuts to their funding, leading to yet another abandoned project and no resolution for Streatham's transport crisis.
The "Streatham Virtual Tube"
Intriguingly, the report suggests a "Virtual Tube" with a new Hub station at Streatham with 4 platforms, and boring a tunnel between Streatham and Streatham Hill to allow trains from Streatham Common to go via Streatham and Streatham Hill to Victoria. They claim that a train every 2-3 minutes would be possible at Streatham if this happened!
ukrail.blogspot.com, which believes Crossrail2 should include Streatham, commented "Streatham Virtual Tube"…sounds better than it really would be. A train every 2 to 3 minutes really means something like 12tph to Victoria, 6tph to Blackfriars and 6tph to London Bridge." meaning 12 trains an hour to Victoria and 12 to Tulse Hill, split between London Bridge or Thameslink (one every 10 minutes to each). "Access to Streatham is perhaps the key piece in South London's jigsaw, and tackling it a necessity of any scheme" says the blog.
Including 2 extra stations (Streatham and Streatham Hill) in the route from Streatham Common to Victoria would extend journey times, and 10-12 trains an hour to Victoria might accommodate the needs of Streatham alone, it would not cope with the demands of its hinterland.
This issue could be solved by locating a Crossrail2 station at Streatham, allowing for 20 trains per hour to Clapham Junction and through the centre of London.
Sign the Petition for Crossrail2Streatham at www.streathamaction.org.uk/content/bring-crossrail-2-streatham
If you would like to help with the campaign, please contact [email protected]
Jane Wroe Wright, Streatham Action Transport Group.