A consultation has opened on proposals for improving public transport services connecting Ebbsfleet, Dartford, Slade Green, Erith and Belvedere with Abbey Wood.

The consultation is being run by the C2E Partnership, which was formed in 2016 to promote extending the Elizabeth line into Kent, although the new consultation does look at alternatives to the Lizzie line as well.

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.

There are five options being looked at by the C2E Partnership.

Three of them are extensions of the Elizabeth line, one is improved services from Kent to Abbey Wood, and the final is a Rapid Bus Transit service.

Option 1 – Elizabeth line extension to Northfleet with 6 trains per hour

Option 2 – Elizabeth line extension to Northfleet with 12 trains an hour to Dartford and 6 trains per hour to Northfleet

Option 3 – Elizabeth line extension to Dartford with 12 trains an hour, plus increased National Rail services between Dartford and Northfleet.

Option 4 – Increased National Rail services between Northfleet and Abbey Wood.

Option 5 – Rapid Bus service between Ebbsfleet and Abbey Wood.

Realistically, the only difference between Options 1-2 and Options 3-4 is who operates the trains along the line between Abbey Wood and Northfleet — will it be TfL, Southeastern or Thameslink.

Beyond some funding for the study into transport options, there’s no funding commitment to any public transport improvement at present.

The C2E group have previously said that they expect that up to half the cost of a railway upgrade could come from local sources, thanks to regeneration and new housing developments in Bexley Riverside, Dartford Town Centre and Ebbsfleet Garden City.

The Mayor of London has supported the extension in principle but noted that London wouldn’t be providing any additional funding for it.

The consultation is here.

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19 comments
  1. Melvyn says:

    I fail to see the point of extension of Elizabeth Line that simply mirrors the existing lines and thus gives no new links or opens up new areas .

    I have traveled by bus from Bexleyheath through this area and noted the large amount of land near the riverside which either unused or just a dumping ground so diverting Elizabeth Line to serve a station in this area would open up this area for development and given its beside the river and the lack of cross river links in this part of London then why not cross to a new station on the north side and then recross back to south side just like the Jubilee Line does ?

    As for operation of Southeastern services it’s likely that the London services as far as Dartford will transfer to TFL Overground operation in due course.

    • Paul says:

      I think the point would be to increase capacity along the route and provide direct access to Docklands and West End. This would support further housing development.

      Yes a new alignment through the riverside area, or even to the South through Bexleyheath, would be lovely, but you only need to examine a satellite image to see that this would need to involve extensive demolition or extensive tunneling, neither of which is likely to be good value for money or politically tenable.

      The BRT proposal also seems to allude to the similarly appealing route East of Dartford via Bluewater and calling at Ebbsfleet proper, but that seems equally unlikely for the same reasons.

  2. Steven Norris says:

    As Thameslink goes into kent to Rainham,increase the amount of trains to bedford, then people can change ar Abbey wood, that way you also increase capacity without the need to build extra track. It also makes sense to me at this time when TFL is broke an they cant even finish crossrail, despite being 4 years late

    • Paul says:

      I don’t think it’s feasible to increase the number of trains from Rainham onto the Thameslink core. Not only is the Thameslink core struggling to meet existing aspirations, but I don’t think the junction from the North Kent line into Thameslink at London Bridge can squeeze any more through between other services.

  3. Robert Bowden says:

    Not more money spent in
    London. Crossrail 4yrs late. May have to cancel line beyond Birmingham.
    With a extension into Kent?
    Forget the North of England AGAIN?
    Is it any wonder that the North feels it is never going to happen and the Northern powerhouse will have to run on clockwork or Batteries

    • ianvisits says:

      As phase one of the Northern Powerhouse rail upgrade will cost over £40 billion – and aligned upgrades/maintenance is being talked of around £100 billion, it seems odd to suggest that the North will be using clockwork engines.

  4. Andrew says:

    What about having new lines from Elizabeth lines coming on the c2c railway line in which can pick up c2c lines from Stratford then though to junction near barking Station it would be a good idea to c2c line have a good make over instead of just 2 routes like Shoeburyness to fenchurch Street and Southend Central to London via grays and South Ockendon.
    I’ve seen a lot change on the old British railway then London Tilbury and Southend line (lts) now the c2c line
    Many thanks

  5. Chris says:

    Why stop at Northfleet? Why not go one more stop and go to Gravesend….

    • Paul says:

      I think the answer is simply that the SouthEastern High Speed trains via Ebbsfleet use the line beyond Northfleet to Gravesend so the capacity isn’t there.

  6. Andrew Gwilt says:

    Maybe it should extend one stop to Gravesend. But still would it happen? I mean you got Thameslink that stops at Abbey Wood. There were also plans to extend it from Shenfield to Chelmsford and to Southend Victoria.

  7. Simon Yeoman says:

    Its mentioned that Thameslink goes to Rainham, well yes but what was a decent semi fast service has been replaced with a much slower ‘all stations’ service. Its back to taking ages to travel the 30 odd miles into London. When cross rail was first decided they protected the trackside as far as Hoo Junction past Gravesend, why not extend it down as far as the new Sharnel Sreet that is being built on the old Port Victoria line and give that new development of 100,000 homes a fast service

  8. anon says:

    look the main fact is crossrail/elizabeth line is over budget 4 years late and earliest they say it will open is 2022 more like 2023.this is running beofore they can walk get the line open before you extend it. yes plans were there for exntending the line in to kent before but the core section stilll need to come in to service first.

    • Melvyn says:

      Much of Crossrail/ Elizabeth line is already open under the name TFL Rail .

      While construction is also almost completed the delays are linked to testing the complexities of new systems not even invented when construction began but test trains are now running on the new central section with trial running expected soon and opening may be possible by the end of this year !

  9. Clive Broadhead says:

    More rail investment in London and the South East. There’s always talk of investment in the North, but it never happens. If HS2 was was the North it should start in the North. When, if ever will Leeds to get the Subway promised by Johnson?

    • ianvisits says:

      Can I suggest you read Rail Magazine, and every single fortnight there’s news of new trains coming into service and railway upgrades opening – in the north.

  10. Jeremy GH says:

    What isn’t stated, or made clear, is what is actually intended, infrastructure wise – all that is mentioned is ‘more services’. For options 1-3 is it just a connection from Crossrail to NR tracks (in which case, what happens over electrification), or new Crossrail tracks alongside the NR ones to Dartford or Northfleet (in which what is the difference between options 1 and 2?)? What is ivolve for Option 4 – just more trains or ??? What is meant by ‘BRT’ and ‘Fastrack’ for option 5?

    • ianvisits says:

      If you click through to the consultation website, then you will be able to read up in more detail about the plans and give feedback on them to the planners – which is a better way of learning the details than commenting here.

  11. Andrew S says:

    It seems odd that Abbey Wood station was designed with the new lower ticket hall effectively blocking any extension of the eastbound track. Presumably this would have to be substantially altered for through running onto the North Kent line?

    • ianvisits says:

      It was built with a new higher ticket hall, and there is already passive provision for an extension if needed.

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