Canary Wharf is working on a proposal for an improved rail link between the Docklands and Euston mainline station. A letter sent to Southwark Council by Canary Wharf Group gives a hint of the proposals they are working on.
The letter is in fact an objection to increased development around Canada Water due to concerns about how it would affect the Jubilee line, and hence office workers getting to Canary Wharf.
The letter also notes that Canary Wharf Group has been working on a scheme to “provide a new link from Canary Wharf to Euston, via the City as part of the DfT’s recent call for market-led rail proposals.”
The idea of market-led proposals was issued by the DfT last March, as a call to the industry to come up with alternative ways of funding rail upgrades.
The market-led proposals, also known as an “unsolicited bid”, as a project promoted by the private sector which addresses an opportunity not necessarily identified or prioritised in a departmental programme or through the Network Rail-led long term planning process (LTPP).
The Department for Transport received 30 submissions, which was reduced down to ten ideas — and the Canary Wharf Group proposal is understood to be one of those short-listed.
Canary Wharf Group has declined to comment on what their proposal entails.
Although there is a suggestion that the proposal is for an entirely new railway line, costing in excess of £5 billion to built, it’s more likely to be a look again at the 2011 proposal to extend the DLR from Bank to Euston via City Thameslink and Holborn, as that is considerably cheaper than a dedicated new railway.
DLR extensions – as proposed in 2011
The City of London has previously said it “strongly supports” a proposed extension of the DLR to Euston due to the reduction in overcrowding on the Underground, especially on the Northern line between Euston and Bank.
Extending the line from Bank to Euston without affecting the frequency of trains on the rest of the DLR would normally require additional trains to be purchased, however there is already an alternative proposal.
The Horizon 2050 report has already suggested that Tower Gateway station should be replaced with an underground station on the existing line to Bank station.
Currently, 90 per cent of DLR City passengers use Bank, but only 75 per cent of services go there. The report says that scrapping the current spur to Tower Gateway would increase service to Bank from 23tph to 30tph.
The bank tunnels currently run right past Tower Hill tube station – slightly below and to the south — so the proposed replacement DLR station at that location would also offer a direct connection from the DLR to the London Underground.
The proposal then enables far more trains to run to Bank, and hence up to Euston station without needing such a large order for new trains, which significantly reduces the cost of the proposed extension.
The DfT’s scheme requires that the Canary Wharf Group, and probably the City of London are able to raise enough money to fund the extension themselves, or from increased taxes on developers. However, the two parties involved are more likely to be able to raise the money than most other proposed transport schemes.
We will just have to wait until the DfT announces the results of its shortlisting to see whether the Canary Wharf proposal is accepted, and exactly what it entails.