Plans to modify the under-construction Brent Cross West station to include a connection for the suggested West London Orbital (WLO) railway have suffered a set-back after TfL said that it cannot commit funding at the moment.

A new station, serving Thameslink trains is currently under construction on industrial land between Brent Cross and Cricklewood to support a large housing development in the area.

There are also unrelated plans being considered to convert a freight railway line that runs from Cricklewood to Old Oak Common into part of the London Overground, offering an east-west link in an area rich in north-south routes.

The West London Orbital railway is expected to require a platform at the soon to be completed Brent Cross West station, and although there is space reserved for it, funding doesn’t exist to include it in the current station construction.

Design changes approved by Barnet Council could allow passive provision for an additional island platform and connections to the footbridge to be added to the current station construction. Putting in place the preliminary works, including enhanced foundation designs would cost around £1.4 million.

However, TfL, while supportive of the plans says it can’t pay for them.

In a letter to Barnet Council, TfL said that “given the current financial climate and while we await longer-term certainty on TfL funding, we are not able to contribute the estimated £1.4m that is necessary for the changes to be made to the detailed design ourselves”

They have looked for alternative funding sources but said that there are none that would be available within the required timescale, as the station is due to open in December 2022. It had been due to open in May 2022, but Covid and other issues have pushed the opening to December, and it may be pushed further to early 2023.

The lack of passive provision is also likely to push up the cost of the new platform works by around £5-£10 million if they are approved at a later date.

Although that doesn’t rule out a West London Orbital platform at Brent Cross West in the future, it pushes the likely opening date further down the line.

In related news, although the dates haven’t been confirmed, there will be three 3-day closures of the railway line in April/May/June 2021 to allow the tracks to be joined up with the new Brent Cross West station.

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18 comments on “Setback for West London Orbital railway plans
  1. Dave says:

    Blimey, I know TfL are in dire straits, but unless they have gone off the idea of the WLO, surely they can find (a paltry?)£1.4m down the back of the sofa somewhere from the Overground budget. Or write a future promissory note to the station builders.

    PS. This coming from someone who does see national industrial finance as ‘rocket science’!

  2. Melvyn says:

    I would have this funding for a future permanent project would take priority over the money being wasted on temporary cycle and walking lanes !

  3. The Crowbar says:

    It’s a project in North West London, and as such It will always be a low priority? Now if it were an extention to the DLR or potentially Crossrail 2 whose benefit will be anywhere other than North West London, it might get a favourable response.

    • ianvisits says:

      What a ridiculous comment considering the under-construction station at Old Oak Common, the planned two additional London Overground stations, the ongoing upgrade of the Met line to increase capacity, the ongoing works on the Bakerloo line, etc.

    • MiaM says:

      COuld it rather be that it is too big to just fund with money already allocated to related works (like, say, opeing up a doorway to improve passenger flow in a station), but also too small compared to the really big projects where all the politicians, executives e.t.c. want to participate at the opening? Like who would be remembered from the opening day of a passive provision, or who would even want to attend to any such opening?

  4. Dave says:

    Does this put the Victoria Road Overground Station for Old Oak Common at risk?

  5. Rupe says:

    Surely investors would be queuing up to lend £1.4m now & double their money in a few years – which would still be far cheaper for TfL..?

    • Paul says:

      I believe TfL is subject to strict borrowing limits, which is a significant contributor to its current financial issues

  6. Adam Edwards says:

    Brent Cross West is such a tame name for a station. Surely Brent Cross North Circular would be more fitting?

  7. Dave says:

    Yep, never did like the idea of BCW as a station name. BCNC (above):- bit too much of a mouthful. Keeping the North Circular connection and well known in car driving circles – but ‘Staples Corner’ anyone? Not aware if we have ever had a Corner in a station name, but I’m sure those more versed will correct me.

    • Terry Crisp says:

      On National Rail, we have Pye Corner (TfW) and Tattenham Corner (Southern).
      On London Trams, we have Reeves Corner.
      On the tube, there is, of course, Hyde Park Corner.

      So I’d say it’s not outside the bounds of probability. 🙂

  8. Dave says:

    Thanks Terry. Should have dug out my London Rail & Tube services map. A 10 minute perusal of that would have saved my last sentence. Painted myself into a corner there!

  9. Norwest says:

    The Old Oak Common LO stations are currently not funded.

    The Hythe Road one is dead, due to the collapse of the Cargiant development.

    The mention of Victoria Road above would be on the Dudding Hill Line, at the Old Oak Common LANE North London Line one, a short distance from the HS2 station.

    Thanks is not exactly helped by Barnet’s inability to redirect just a million from the £420-million it is getting from the government for Brent Cross development.

  10. Chris L says:

    The enlarged Brent Cross shopping centre will want the station to be associated with it.

  11. Andrew Gwilt says:

    I still think it might happen. Probably in 5 years time. Just saying.

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