A consultation has opened on proposals for improving public transport services connecting Ebbsfleet, Dartford, Slade Green, Erith and Belvedere with Abbey Wood.
The consultation is being run by the C2E Partnership, which was formed in 2016 to promote extending the Elizabeth line into Kent, although the new consultation does look at alternatives to the Lizzie line as well.
The early plans for Crossrail included running the line out towards Gravesend, but this was cut back in the 1990s, and in 2008 when Crossrail got approval, it was difficult to support the extended line. However, some passive provision was included in the station design at Abbey Wood to permit an extension to be added on later.
There are five options being looked at by the C2E Partnership.
Three of them are extensions of the Elizabeth line, one is improved services from Kent to Abbey Wood, and the final is a Rapid Bus Transit service.
Realistically, the only difference between Options 1-2 and Options 3-4 is who operates the trains along the line between Abbey Wood and Northfleet — will it be TfL, Southeastern or Thameslink.
Beyond some funding for the study into transport options, there’s no funding commitment to any public transport improvement at present.
The C2E group have previously said that they expect that up to half the cost of a railway upgrade could come from local sources, thanks to regeneration and new housing developments in Bexley Riverside, Dartford Town Centre and Ebbsfleet Garden City.
The Mayor of London has supported the extension in principle but noted that London wouldn’t be providing any additional funding for it.
The consultation is here.