Before it’s even finished, Crossrail could be in line for its third extension, this time out to Ebbsfleet in Kent.

In a report, the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission — appointed by Government to direct investment in the Thames Estuary — has highlighted the Crossrail to Ebbsfleet extension as a top priority that should be delivered by 2029.

The report calls on the government to provide around £20m to enable the detailed engineering, design, land and financial modelling and legal framework to be progressed.

Elizabeth line map with Ebbsfleet extension

The government is already said to be warm to the idea of backing the extension to support new housing and jobs in South East London and North Kent, and to connect the Crossrail network to HS1 destinations across Kent.

It is expected that funding to support C2E may form part of a future Thames Estuary Growth and Infrastructure deal in the Autumn.

The early plans for Crossrail had included running the line out towards Gravesend, but this was cut back in the 1990s, and a review in 2004 recommended stopping at Abbey Wood. When Crossrail got approval in 2008, 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.

A Safeguarding Direction is also in place for an extension between Abbey Wood and Hoo Junction following the existing alignment of the North Kent railway lines.

If approved, this would be the third extension of the Crossrail line, following the extension to Reading and Heathrow’s Terminal 5.

In the latest transport strategy, the Mayor of London supported the extension in principle, but noted that London wouldn’t be providing any additional funding for it.

The Crossrail to Ebbsfleet (C2E) campaign has previously looked at how the extension could be paid for, and expects that up to half the cost could come from local sources, thanks to regeneration and new housing developments.

The funding is thanks to the fact that the C2E route directly connects three major regeneration areas: Bexley Riverside, Dartford Town Centre and Ebbsfleet Garden City.

It’s estimated that the regeneration of 8km of Thames riverfront would result in some 30,000 additional houses being built, and the line of the C2E proposal would support around 55,000 homes in total.

It’s also been noted that the connection at Ebbsfleet would enable the Elizabeth line, as it will be then, to connect with Eurostar services to mainland Europe.

In related news, as the report looks to 2050 for its remit, it also took submissions suggesting the possible eastern spur for Crossrail 2 could be extended from Hackney through Barking, Dagenham and southern Essex, and could even link up with Crossrail 1 via a Thames tunnel.

And, Crossrail 3 gets a very, very, brief mention in the Technical Report Appendix.


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  1. James Balston says:

    But no indication of the route Crossrail 3 night take?

  2. Michael Garrett says:

    I assume if it extends to Ebbsfleet there will be additional rolling stock added, and some trains will still commence their journey at Abbeywood? Otherwise Abbeywood, Woolwich and to extent Custom House could face overcrowding at peak times?

  3. Ben says:

    Interestingly, the technical report that accompanies the main report still lists the project as ‘Crossrail Extension to Ebbsfleet/Gravesend’. So it’s not 100% clear whether this is a definitive switch from Gravesend to Ebbsfleet, or whether they’ll just rebrand Northfleet station as being Ebbsfleet because they know that Ebbsfleet Garden City is a pet government project.

    FWIW, I don’t really see the benefit – branding aside – from terminating at Ebbsfleet rather than running to Gravesend which would allow the use of Hoo Junction for stabling. It would require a new turn east of Swanscombe junction down to Ebbsfleet and would only save about 200m for Ebbsfleet residents compared to using Northfleet station to service the area.

  4. David Mortimer says:

    Elizabeth line why cannot they extend to Windsor instead of it being a branch from Slough so centre of London to Windsor an spend some money on this branch line, double the line build pore platforms at Windsor electrified the line.

    • Ian Visits says:

      Even if they did find the money to upgrade the Slough-Windsor line, the cost of running a flyover at Slough to bring Elizabeth line trains from the north side of the station over to the south side would be enormous.

      It would need a level of demand to exist out of all proportion to the passenger traffic the line currently serves.

    • Mike Jones says:

      Or logical? Chugging two inner suburban trains out to Reading, certainly isn’t. Windsor a a popular off-peak/counter-peak destination from London. And considerably nearer. Some use needs to be found for those Paddington terminators!

  5. Andrew Gwilt says:

    Does that mean all Class 345’s will have DC shoebox conductors so that they can operate on DC 750v 3rd Rail aswell operating on usual 25kv AC OHL. If the Crossrail extension to Ebbsfleet does happen. Plus Elizabeth Line might also extend to Didcot Parkway, Southend Victoria and possibly Southminster if that too also happens. Or extend to Southend Victoria with Greater Anglia providing a local service on the Wickford-Southminster Crouch Valley branch line.

  6. Martin L Smith says:

    So if lime extended to ebbsfleet will the line north of the Thames be extended at a minimum to Southend Airport given the increase of expected traffic on the a127/a13 and the increase of aircraft movements from/to that airport i bet the coming months/years

  7. Bob McIntyre says:

    Nothing more guaranteed to annoy the rest of the UK than yet more money into the London area. Less than 1/20th of the amount allocated for just the planning here would see the service on my local line improved from one single Class 153 in each direction every five hours on 1980s infrastructure that constantly breaks down, to something like a usable service. You Londoners really don’t know how lucky you are now.

    • Ian Visits says:

      As the cost will be borne by local taxpayers, local passengers and local developers, I am not sure why you think somehow the rest of the UK is losing out by a local railway being funded by local people.

  8. J P says:

    Dare I use the term crayonista? Great that our friends from Europe can choose to change at Ebbsfleet and vice versa but what about terminal six connexion at Heathrow for runway 3?

  9. Gospodinova says:

    Why not extend Elizabeth Line to Chelmsford?

    • Andrew Gwilt says:

      Won’t happen. Possibly Southend Victoria is a better option but not Chelmsford.

    • Stuart says:

      They have tested the new trains out as far as Southend presumable with the airport in mind.

  10. R Dodd says:

    Well there’s a surprise London only mentions a extension/ improvement to a rail line gets all the money it wants new rolling stock to boot. While the rest of country who pays for all of this gets pittance it is like a third world country north of the M25. A total embarrassment to a government who did say we are all in this together yes right one rule for London bugger all for the rest of you and thanks for paying!!!

    • Stuart says:

      “Well there’s a surprise London only mentions a extension/ improvement to a rail line gets all the money it wants new rolling stock to boot.”

      If you read it, you will recall it saying the locals will be paying for it out of their taxes.

  11. Mike Jones says:

    Ebbsfleet should either be bulldozed (who needs Parkway Stations) or connected directly to the Kent rail system. If this is the Elizabeth line, or not, is immaterial.

  12. Mike Jones says:

    Or logical? Chugging two inner suburban trains out to Reading, certainly isn’t. Windsor a a popular off-peak/counter-peak destination from London. And considerably nearer. Some use needs to be found for those Paddington terminators!

  13. Michael paterson says:

    This is fine but get on with Crossrail 2
    Everybody agrees we need it
    The government can borrow long term at very low rates of interest
    Why delay? If there are refinements to the route this can be decided later but there are are parts that are not in dispute so get on with these
    Finally the crews that have been assembled for Crossrail 1 can be transferred to Crossrail 2 as and when they are no longer required on Crossrail 1 although I fear that the optimum point on this aspect has been passed.
    Ps as a student I worked on the Victoria line as a labourer so am somewhat biased in my belief in underground railways!

  14. Jimbo says:

    This seems a lot of effort and cost just so that users on the North Kent Line don’t have to change at Abbey Wood. If you are going to extend it, then make it somewhere that adds journey opportunities rather than somewhere that is already well served through a single change.

  15. Strabismus says:

    Why stop at Chelmsford? Once you’re there you might as well continue to Braintree, and the additional appeal would certainly warrant reopening the line to Maldon and onwards from Braintree to Stansted. At this stage however I’m not suggesting extension to Cambridge via Haverhill. That would be a tad optimistic.

    • Jimbo says:

      Why stop at Braintree? why not Ipswich, Norwich or Lowestoft?

      You cannot plug the whole of the Great Eastern rail network into Crossrail, or any other regional network. This is supposed to be an all-stations metro railway and if you are coming from further afield, it will be far quicker to catch a fast or semi-fast service into London and then change onto the metro.

      Reading is too far out, the Crossrail should probably have stopped at Slough – from Reading, it will be much quicker to get a fast service to Paddington and then change onto Crossrail, rather than use the frequently stopping Crossrail service.

    • Me says:

      As I understand it, the Crossrail service to Reading is certainly NOT going to be “all stations”.
      I also reckon journey times to Central London, rather than Paddington, will be quite attractive on Crossrail from Reading. Not changing at Paddington will save people 10-20 minutes which will make the ~45 minute Crossrail journey comparable with the ~30 minute GWR.

  16. James says:

    Well Reading is 40 miles west of Charing Cross so if you extend that North East and South East you’d end up at London Southend Airport (41.5miles) and Maidstone (39.3miles) to be fair so it’s possible on numbers alone.

  17. Liam says:

    I’m interested in seeing what happens. One journey I do from time to time sees me catch a long distance train from Gloucestershire to try and get to East Kent via HS1. Depending on service patterns I could change at Reading or Paddington and then either Stratford or Ebbsfleet. It’s all going to depend on the timetable, journey times and connections.

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