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.