A report calling for the Elizabeth line (nee Crossrail) to be extended from Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet (C2E) has been presented to the Thames Estuary Growth Commission.

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.

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.

The C2E campaign is calling for an extension to Ebbsfleet, whereas Network Rail is proposing a slightly longer extension to Gravesend, mainly as Hoo Junction would offer a more convenient depot and turnaround point.

Once Crossrail construction got underway and people started to seriously see the impact the new line would bring, there has been a campaign to restore the extension.

Network Rail’s draft Kent Route Study published last year looked at the possibility of an extension and said that doubling the tracks from two to four would be proposed in order to overcome identified technical and operational concerns of running Elizabeth line trains over already busy Network Rail tracks.

The Crossrail to Ebbsfleet (C2E) campaign is looking 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.

The Thames Estuary Commission, led by Sir John Armitt, will report in May. If it endorses C2E as a critical infrastructure investment, council leaders and MPs will be seeking Government support to enable the extension to reach the next phase of development involving a full business case and detailed engineering design.

The extension is anticipated to take up to 10 years to design and build and is estimated to cost in the region of £1.5 billion.

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.


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  1. AKR says:

    Moving to Erith soon so this would be very good news for us. Not so good is the 10 year timeline. Would be better if they could use existing tracks.

  2. Andy Bishop says:

    If Crossrail is extended to Ebbsfleet (aka a rebuilt Northfleet station), to be competitive against Highspeed, it will need to continue to Gravesend. There is no reason why 3 tracking between Northfleet and Gravesend should not happen.

  3. Richard Neville says:

    This should have just been done to begin with. Ebbsfleet is a brilliant, yet underused, station with a Eurostar connection. It just makes so much sense to run Crossrail there.

  4. Ben says:

    It’s hard to know what’s the attraction of terminating at Ebbsfleet Intl, which would require diverting from the North Kent Line and putting in turnback facilities, when the NR proposal can serve Ebbsfleet via Northfleet, connect Gravesend and allow use of Hoo Junction. Why need to put in that diversion and have Gravesend lose a Crossrail connection just to have it 200 metres closer to Ebbsfleet?

    • Andy Bishop says:

      You make a valid point. Hoo Junction is underused itself and has ample space (especially the down sidings and reception area) to cater for a new depot.

      The most common sense scenario would be to get Crossrail to Gravesend – even if it means rebuilding the station, then plan forward to extending beyond to Medway and also possibly under the Thames and into Essex.
      Truncating at Ebbsfleet aka Northfleet, is strategically short term and quite stupid.

      The irony is however, is that the original campaign was known as C2G. However, Gravesham and KCC have yet again let Gravesend down.
      I hope that Crossrail/TFL take a more realistic and pragmatic view and support Crossrail being extended to Ebbsfleet AND Gravesend.

  5. Andrew Gwilt says:

    Suppose that the Elizabeth Line could extend to Gravesend which also would mean that it could possibly extend to as far as Rochester if that’s necessary.

    Also there were plans to extend the Elizabeth Line from Shenfield to Southend Victoria as some of the Class 345’s have been tested on the Southend Victoria line before they entered service on the Liverpool St-Shenfield metro service that TfL Rail took over from (Abellio) Greater Anglia back in May 31 2015.

    And are to replace the ageing Class 315’s as more of the Class 345’s are being delivered and are to extend to become 9 carriages. Plus 5 more Class 345’s have been added to make it the total of 70 Class 345’s on the Elizabeth Line. As previously there were 65 being ordered for the Elizabeth Line.

  6. Melvyn says:

    If this extension is built then perhaps it could be further extended to cross the Thames to Tilbury to join C2C and provide a new cross river link in part of London where cross river links are in short supply and replace the Tilbury Ferry .

    Crossrail uses 25kv overhead electrification and thus extension of overhead electrification would be needed but this could be part of conversion of 3rd rail electrification to overhead electrification with south eastern using dual voltage trains .

    @ Andrew Gwilt the recent increase in trains for Crossrail from 65 to 70 is to provide more services on western side of the route .
    While the use of Class 345 to Southend are training runs together with seperate provision of Aventura trains on Great Eastern services from Liverpool Street as ordered under new franchise.

    One way forward might be to split this extension down into phases and seek funding from development to fund the scheme

  7. Bosi says:

    a cheaper way of linking the Elizabeth line to HS1 would be to open the platforms at Stratford Intrenational

  8. Geoffrey says:

    Any extension of Elizabeth Line Crossrail into North Kent needs a completely new line missing congested Dartford station. It should run from Near Slade Green across the marshes, then across the Dartford Crossing Orbital Link A 282 (No Station) and into an enlarged Ebbsfleet station with platforms on ALL the nearby lines which must be diverted into it. Onwards to Gravesend and Hoo Junction Depot. Later into Essex for new housing development and terminate on Canvey island after a joint station with c2c.

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