How might we shape the pattern of London’s growth and development to help bring about a more sustainable outcome? In this part (and the next) of our continuing series we’ll look at the ‘quantity and quality’ schemes arriving at this electronic platform now for rail (above ground and below), surface transport and integration and interchange.

Because there’s a lot to say, we’ll focus first on the overall shape of what’s offered, and particularly on the National Rail element within London and the Home Counties.

The story so far

Part 1 set out the context for the proposed London Infrastructure Plan 2050 (‘London 2050’). It is founded on foreseen growth in population and jobs, and has the goal of ensuring that London maintains a pre-eminent status at a World City level in the decades to come with better capacity, better reach and better quality of lives. We saw that the consultation document has three outputs: a policy case, a manifesto and a funding bid. The requirements for large scale expansion of funding were described, including the transport networks. It was noted that London has been offered less freedom of planning choice than one might have desired, because of how the modelling has been undertaken.

Part 2 expanded the topic of forecasting, and showed how this influenced the spatial and transport choices for London. We discussed some key topics:

  • agglomeration theory and practice for the principal London jobs locations
  • population densification and dispersal options, including beyond Greater London
  • the politics of a growing London
  • impact of current London airport planning
  • future options for outer London, and the merits or not of the proposed Outer Orbital railway
  • some quality and equality issues.

Limited timescale to deliver new capacity

We can now review, also in context, the transport schemes which individually and jointly are brought forwards in London 2050 – and those which appear absent from such advocacy.

London 2050’s Transport Support Paper (TSP) has set out a long list of possible projects. These are costed at a nominal level of detail, and are set out in TSP pages 129-164 for rail schemes (we’ll cover road and other transport schemes in due course). It is interesting that these rail-based projects are sorted by mode, not by project development phase, overall timescale, affordability, wider benefits, nor relative capacity impacts.

So this is not a prioritised list in the sequence in which it is published, although such measures are set out in the TSP tables. The bulk of existing thinking already takes us to the 2030s or beyond. To look as far as 2050, there has been much behind-the-scenes analysis to consider a mix of options that could help to deliver London’s capacity requirements. As we shall see, even that may not have gone far enough, though the forecasting points towards more of the same.

While there will be a need for some new lines, the larger task will be to expand, operate and maintain the rail capacity on existing lines, in order to accommodate the demand volumes. The funding needs, engineering and operational challenges, and pressures on project management, available workforce and skills, are far greater than ‘more of the same’.

Two simple numbers make this point: according to London 2050: “given the limited scope for London’s roads to provide additional capacity, demand on the Underground and rail is likely to go up by 60 and 80 per cent respectively” (London 2050 consultation document, page 9). That’s over the next 35 years, compared to the 183 years it has taken until now to develop the network since planning began for the London and Greenwich Railway in 1831. It will take strong policy, political and funding prioritisation, to deal with this tall order!

In volume, the actual numbers that might be foreseen are suggested below, on a route by route basis. These are not set out within London 2050 itself, but from available transport industry planning documents. We start with the National Rail services. As we shall see, these are already largely forecast through to 2050 and beyond, though whether there is adequate capacity is another matter, and whether London 2050 anticipates those requirements appropriately, with outline funding identified, another matter still.

You can’t buck the system

The Hunting of the Snark is sometimes a useful aide-memoire. “Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes! But we’ve got our brave Captain to thank: (So the crew would protest) “that he’s bought us the best– A perfect and absolute blank!”

That’s great if you want to maximise your options. The problem is that a blank is the one thing London’s spatial and transport geography isn’t, and doesn’t permit for future projects. Its past will shape its future. Already detailed Network Rail planning is under way on the main lines for the 2020s, up to the fourth quinquennial period set out in London 2050’s costings, towards 2030.

Control Period 7 (CP7), if it exists in the future under Treasury control of Network Rail, will end in 2029. That’s roundly the date in a nice world when:

  • Crossrail 2 and HS2 Phase 2 are being tested pre-opening
  • the first of the New Tubes for London – the Piccadilly Line – has been working perfectly since 2027 (according to the latest TfL re-spec)
  • all of Network Rail’s 2011 London & South East Route Utilisation Strategy proposals, and some more recent scheme thinking, have been implemented to achieve adequate capacity by 2031.

How hopeful are we about all that?

As for Control Periods 8 to 11, on to 2049 (only one year short of 2050), Network Rail last year in its Long Term Planning Process (LTPP) market analyses set out expectations about foreseeable 30 year changes to demand volumes for the period 2013 to 2043, on the main rail corridors. There is a specific strategy for the London & South East catchment (actually London and Home Counties).

So it isn’t a huge jump for the main line rail sector to have prognostications about 2050, compared to 2043, even if the rate of demand will have to be revised for jobs and population. Just one more Control Period and a bit. So it can be 2043 plus or minus some variation – providing that a similar economic geography is anticipated.

Network Rail already has some 2050+ forecasts!

We’ve shown that, whether you like it or not, the forecasting processes are largely geared towards more of the same, at least for jobs – additional radial-centric commuting. This is driven by a location fix for the bulk of additional jobs, to be ‘agglomerated’ densely in versions of the existing Central Activity Zone, plus options for one or more of: (a) higher CAZ density; (b) an expanded CAZ into the present City Fringe; (c) support for the CAZ plus Satellite Activity Zones, with SAZ indicated at Canary Wharf, Stratford and Old Oak Common.

The 2011 London and South East Route Utilisation Strategy (LSE RUS) forecast growth from 2011 to 2031. Some route-specific changes were also included, having their main impact before 2023, such as Crossrail 1 and Thameslink.

The LSE RUS used a similar growth factor from 2011 to 2023, 0.86% commuting growth per annum, as is used by the 2013 to 2043 LTPP, for the same period. This is noted in the LTPP document:

For all four [LTPP] scenarios the level of growth in central and inner London employment over the first 10 years of the forecasts was kept at the rate used in the London and South East RUS. This growth rate of 0.86 per cent per annum was taken from the London Plan 2011.

Like the LSE RUS, the LTPP adopted the GLA’s 2031 forecast in the 2011 London Plan, of 1.3 million additional population from 2007 to 2031, and 750,000 additional jobs over the same period. Where the LTPP diverged from the RUS, was to vary the forecast beyond 2023, with variable 20 year population and jobs projections to 2043.

There were four scenarios taken forward in the LTPP, varying from ‘Prospering in Global Stability’ (PGS) to ‘Prospering in Isolation’ (PII), ‘Struggling in Global Turmoil’ (SGT), and ‘Struggling in Isolation’ (SII). Only PGS and PII compare closely with the general London 2050 scenario, while PGS is closer in function and style. [See LTPP Chapter 6, pages 25-43]

In PGS, London is the first and principal point of interaction between a prospering UK economy and foreign economies. London and Home Counties area employment growth is forecast there at 0.88% per annum beyond 2023 to 2043, a compound 32.0% increase on 2011. This is lower in PII, where strong UK economic growth is driven by burgeoning domestic production located outside of large city centres, and London and Home Counties employment growth after 2023 is forecast at 0.67% per annum, compound 26.7% from 2011. SGT is 15.8%, SII 14.7%.

In contrast, London 2050 looks at a compound 28.6% jobs increase in its central projection, an average 0.65% per annum overall increase in employment from 2011.

What this all means for London 2050 planning, is that Network Rail’s existing 2043 maximum demand forecasts (which exclude the effects of HS2) are broadly the equivalent of London 2050’s rail requirements projected to 2047-48 (PII) or 2054 (PGS). So we already have some London 2050 route-by-route estimates, for London’s main lines. We shall assume in this discussion that PGS applies, as these are the maximum capacity demand figures already published for 2043 and we are looking at known data.

The distribution of additional jobs is foreseen in London 2050 as follows:

If trends continue, the professional, real estate, scientific and technical activities sectors are expected to see the largest increase in employment over this period (nearly doubling to 1.4 million). Two thirds of the total increase in jobs are expected to occur in the Inner London boroughs.

This points once again to increased, heavy reliance on rail travel to and within Inner and Central London, including radial and orbital flows and large-scale passenger distribution from termini.

Sequence of discussion

The sequence adopted for the rest of this article is therefore:

  • Tabulation of what the 2011 LSE RUS saw in terms of capacity gaps by 2031 if nothing new was done other than existing committed schemes.
  • New tabulation including the 2043 LTPP forecasting for PGS volumes, and contrasting this against the same 2031 capacity gaps as a starting point – so this represents a nominal commute-to-jobs equivalent of a ‘London 2050+’ forecast demand versus a baseline 2031 capacity supply.
  • A summary of LSE RUS comments about how that report sought to fill the pre-2031 capacity gaps (generally with positive results), plus a summary by this author about what the foreseeable additional gaps between 2031 and 2050+ mean, and possible ways of addressing those.
  • Review what extra schemes London 2050 proposes to bring to the National Rail party, and whether they alleviate the foreseeable 2050+ capacity gaps.
  • Round-up of National Rail and London 2050, and related topics otherwise left hanging.

What the 2011 LSE RUS estimated, for 2031

Merging the LSE RUS and LTPP estimates of projected demand flows (and taking PGS as the upper limit), shows below, in the next two tables, the following gaps in demand and supply on London’s National Rail corridors in 2031, and in 2050+. We should bear in mind that these are forecasts made a long way ahead of any out-turn results.

The table below shows peak hour commuting capacity gaps on London’s main lines in 2031, as set out in 2011 LSE RUS, without the RUS’s subsequent proposals for intervention and relief (nb: This is for the busiest single hour, not for the more usual 3 hour AM peak period)

2031 morning peak busiest hour, from LSE RUS 2011

Demand, capacity, route utilisation and gap forecasts (do-minimum)

Key: Numbers in red are those where demand exceeds capacity. Numbers in green are estimates of Main Orbital 2010 based on 480 per train, 160 seated, except GOBLIN. Includes 1 tph Southern on WLL in AM peak. (*) indicates different annual basis.

2031 Capacity: Base Line changes Live estimate from RUS data
2010 busiest AM peak hour volume 2031 Capacity + Demand high peak hr, Capacity LSE RUS Ch.5, Demand Ch. 6
Route into / Service group 2010 Seated Capacity 2010 Standing Capacity 2010 Seats + Standing Capacity 2010 Actual Demand  2011 Actual Demand 2031 Seated Capacity 2031 Standing Capacity 2031 Seats + Standing Capacity Anticipated 2031 Demand (Forecast) Demand / Capacity Utilisation Ratio 2031 Forecast Gap 2031 (Based on 85% utilisation)
Total Passenger volumes 238,160 100,270 338,430 298,200 304,700 282,850 183,750 466,600 410,800 88.0% 14,190
London Paddington RBIR 95.8% 42,795
Crossrail GW route n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 7,800 9,800 17,600 12,800 72.7% 0
Relief line trains (excluding Crossrail) 2,500 600 3,100 4,100 4,100
Heathrow Express 2,800 0 2,800 800 800   2,800 0 2,800 1,300 46.4% 0
Main line + other fast trains 8,000 300 8,300 9,000 8,500 8,600 600 9,200 13,600 147.8% 5,780
London Marylebone
All Services 5,700 1,000 6,700 6,100 6,500 6,500 1,300 7,800 7,800 100.0% 1,170
London Euston
HS2 services  
Long Distance 5,800 0 5,800 3,700 3,300 6,900 0 6,900 6,500 94.2% 635
Suburban 7,600 3,000 10,600 8,100 8,800 8,100 3,300 11,400 12,100 106.1% 2,410
London St Pancras
International services  
High Speed 1 (domestic) 4,200 1,500 5,700 2,500 2,500 4,200 1,500 5,700 5,300 93.0% 455
MML Long Distance 2,900 0 2,900 2,300 2,500 2,900 0 2,900 3,800 131.0% 1,335
Thameslink MML 8,500 3,200 11,700 9,900 9,700 8,700 15,800 24,500 14,700 60.0% 0
London Kings Cross
Thameslink ECML n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 4,100 7,600 11,700 13,000 79.8% Gap on Camb / Pboro. Most WGC to Tlink 1,500
Great Northern 8,000 1,800 9,800 7,900 16,700 4000 600 4,600
Hertford-Moorgate 3,700 1,400 5,100 7,900 4,700 1,700 6,400 8000 103.9% 1,455
Welwyn Garden City-Moorgate 1,900 700 2,600 900 400 900 400 1,300
ECML Long Distance 2,700 0 2,700 2,000 2,600 4,900 0 4,900 3,000 61.2% 0
London Liverpool Street
West Anglia incl Main Line 11,400 4,400 15,800 14,300 15,700 13,500 5,000 18,500 18,000 97.3% 2,275
Great Eastern Main Line 16,700 2,200 18,900 16,500 19,500 18,600 4,300 22,900 24,600 107.4% 5,135
GE Inners 8,900 3,200 12,100 12,900 13,600 3,800 1,400 5,200 21,000 90.1% 01
Crossrail GE route n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 7,100 11,000 18,100
Crossrail Abbey Wood route n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 7,100 11,000 18,100 11,900 65.7% 0
London Fenchurch Street
All services 12,100 4,100 16,200 15,300 16,300 14,900 5,200 20,100 17,000 84.6% 0
To / Via London Bridge
Terminating Sth. London (inners) 7,100 3,300 10,400 9,200 9,300 9,800 3,500 13,300 11,500 86.5% 195
Terminating (fasts via E.Croydon) 8,600 4,400 13,000 13,300 15,200 7,800 14,200 22,000 24,400 86.8% 515
Thameslink Sussex n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 4,100 2,000 6,100
London Charing X/Waterloo East 19,200 10,600 29,800 26,200 60,500 19,200 10,600 29,800 50,900 80.5% 10002
London Cannon Street 15,500 9,000 24,500 20,900 16,800 9,700 26,500
Thameslink Kent n/a n/a n/a n/a 2,500 4,400 6,900
London Victoria
Kent routes 9,500 2,300 11,800 10,300 (inc above) 8,400 4,100 12,500 8,700 69.6% 0
Fast trains via East Croydon 11,800 4,900 16,700 14,200 12,100 12,900 5,700 18,600 19,500 104.8% 3,690
Stopping trains via Balham 7,100 3,200 10,300 9,700 12,900 11,500 3,700 15,200 10,300 67.8% 0
London Blackfriars
Thameslink 8,000 2,700 10,700 10,400 10,900 2,500 4,800 7,300 11,900 84.4% 9003
Terminating (all services) n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 5,400 1,400 6,800
London Waterloo
Windsor Lines (all services) 7,800 8,400 16,200 13,600 13,300 9,000 10,300 19,300 17,100 88.6% 695
Stopping trains via Wimbledon 13,000 16,200 29,200 22,700 23,600 15,100 19,600 34,700 25,500 73.5% 0
South West Main Line 13,400 0 13,400 14,800 15,800 13,400 0 13,400 18,300 136.6% 6,910
Main Orbital Routes
West London Line 940 1,430 2,370 2,700 * 900 2,100 3,000 5,500 183.3% 2,950
East London Line 1,920 3,840 5,760 4,200 * 2,370 4,730 7,100 9,800 138.0% 3,765
North London Line 1,168 2,336 3,504 2,700 * 1,080 2,420 3,500 3,000 85.7% 25

185% not used for CR1
2+20min stand
3gap via H.Hill

The 2011 LSE RUS projected a 43,000 passenger capacity gap overall, on the London’s main line routes in 2031, starting with a 2010 demand baseline. This assumed that no major investments were undertaken beyond those committed then (which included Crossrail and Thameslink). Every route needed some lesser or greater intervention to deliver the expected capacity requirement in 2031.

This was for the busiest morning peak hour (taken by the RUS as 08:00 to 08:59, though 08:15 to 09:14 can be busier). The RUS ignored 07:00-07:59, and 09:00-09:59, as infrastructure investments required for the busiest hour should accommodate demands in the other hours. This may be true for infrastructure but might not be so for train numbers, as extra trains are likely to be required for additional inbound travel in those periods as well. An estimate of a full 3 hour AM peak period in 2031 might be over 0.9 million inbound passengers on National Rail, if taking the busiest hour as 45% of 3 hours.

The LSE RUS thought that delivering this additional capacity was possible in most cases, for example with investment in Bow-Stratford capacity to assist the Great Eastern Main Line. Other solutions are required elsewhere. West Coast main line commuting relies on HS2 and Crossrail-WCML, in order to free up enough train slots. The Great Western main line needs Crossrail extension to Reading and diversion of Heathrow Express onto the relief lines as a Crossrail Express, to free up enough capacity by 2031 between London and Reading on the fast lines. The latter opens up a complex commercial debate between Heathrow Airport, Network Rail, Department for Transport and the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), because of track ownership and slot allocation issues.

There is still no complete solution offered in the LSE RUS for the South Western mainline long distance and outer suburban commuting growth. Options there are a fifth track into Waterloo from Surbiton (far from easy) or a revised Crossrail 2 coming the other way from Central London, to take away some inner suburban flows and allow some slots to be used by longer distance trains. Even so full relief is not guaranteed. Crossrail 2 was also likely to be useful for West Anglia in due course. Longer trains and platforms were a common medicine, and the main solution for London Overground.

What the 2013 LTPP estimated, for 2043

In planning for London 2050 main line capacity, it might be theoretically possible to regard 2031 as giving the ability to restart planning with a zero capacity gap (but not on SWML). However there will be a busier baseline railway, having little or no extra capacity available using conventional methods of capacity relief, because getting to 2031 will have used up most of the margins. It also assumes that all supplementary LSE RUS investment requirements have been authorised and completed, which might be optimistic.

Worse, Network Rail’s LTPP assumes a wider spread of population than London 2050 is discussing, with comparable growth across the whole London & Home Counties area, but is similar to London 2050 on jobs. London 2050 has a high population within the GLA area. So pressures on inner suburban services with this maximum growth may be greater than projected, already by 2031 and much more so by 2050.

Whilst in theory those extra inner passengers might require fewer extra trains than outer commuters, because of permitted inner standee levels, this may not correlate with available inner train slots on allocated tracks. Meanwhile Network Rail’s outer commuter forecasting might still hold true, for example if higher value jobs exceed expectations, so resulting in a worse net capacity gap than shown below!

Alternatively, as London 2050 shows in its modelling options, move a million of the forecast population outside London, and outer suburban commuting pressures then grow bigger, faster, sooner than Network Rail’s PGS (Prospering in Global Stability). You also need more train paths for outer suburban commuters, because of the standee proportions mandated on inners but not outers.

Overall, Network Rail’s forecast growth in outer suburban commuting gives no comfort that in any scenario there will be fast tracks with spare capacity for relieving inner area crowding.

The London 2050 (mainline capacity) table is derived directly from the Network Rail LSE RUS and LTPP data. An 85% route capacity utilisation is used, as in 2031 estimates, as a ‘safe maximum’ for workable flows. The LTPP 2043 maximum growth scenario for jobs is taken as equivalent to London 2050+, on the jobs estimates described above, though without potential extra inner suburban volume caused there by greater population).

Below are the peak hour commuting capacity gaps on London’s main lines in 2050+, based on Network Rail 2043 projections – similar to London 2050 jobs growth taken to 2054. No interventions beyond LSE RUS 2031 baseline, so adds to the 2031 gaps:

2060 morning peak busiest hour, from LSE RUS 2011 and LTPP 2013, using PGS (Prospering in Global Stability) as the growth rate

Demand, capacity, route utilisation and gap forecasts (do-minimum)

Key: Orange numbers are those where there is any standing on Outers. Red numbers are those where there is standing on Inners, including Crossrail. Italics are used where the 2043 demand is not stated in LTPP and has been estimated by taking the LSE RUS 2031 reduced to 2023, then growth at PGS rate 2023 to 2043.

LTPP 2043 = 2060 demand Straight line growth, 2023 > 2043, LTPP PGS basis = London 2060
Route Into / Service group PGS basis, as direct input from
LTPP figures
2060 demand 2031
capacity utilisation ratio
2031 base Seats Left standing in 2060 if 2031 base
seats
% passengers standing in 2060 over
2031 base
Forecast gap 2060 (85% use, 2031
base capacity)
utilisation
ratio average >
516,275 110.6% 283,168 233,107 45% 119,665
utilisation
ratio, route basis >
117.6% <implied ratio> 242,719 47% 129,277
London Paddington
Crossrail GW route 16,500 80.9% 10,600 5,900 36% 0
Relief line trains (excl Crossrail)
Heathrow Express
Main line + other fast trains 17,000 184.8% 8,600 8,400 49% 9,180
London Marylebone
All services 11,400 146.2% 6,500 4,900 43% 4,770
London Euston
HS2 services not in LSE RUS or LTPP
Long Distance 7,100 102.9% 6,900 200 3% 1,235
Suburban 16,600 145.6% 8,100 8,500 51% 6,910
London St Pancras
International services not in LSE RUS or LTPP
High Speed 1 (domestic) 5,893 103.4% 4,200 1,693 29% 1,048
MML Long Distance 5,800 200.0% 2,900 2,900 50% 3,335
Thameslink MML 15,600 63.7% 8,700 6,900 44% 0
London King’s Cross
Thameslink ECML 27,200 113.3% 13,700 13,500 50% 6,800
Great Northern
Hertford-Moorgate
Welwyn Garden City-Moorgate
ECML Long Distance 5,300 108.2% 4,900 400 8% 1,135
London Liverpool Street
West Anglia incl Main Line 21,800 117.8% 13,500 8,300 38% 6,075
Great Eastern Main Line 34,100 148.9% 18,600 15,500 45% 14,635
GE Inners 24,900 106.9% 10,900 14,000 56% 5,095
Crossrail GE route
Crossrail Abbey Wood route 13,232 73.1% 7,100 6,132 46% 0
London Fenchurch Street
All services 23,800 118.4% 14,900 8,900 37% 6,715
To / Via London Bridge
Terminating Sth. London (inners) 12,900 97.0% 9,800 3,100 24% 1,595
Thameslink Sussex 31,400 111.7% 11,900 19,500 62% 7,515
Terminating (fasts via E.Croydon)
London Charing X/Waterloo East 88,900 117.4% 46,900 42,000 47% 24,555
London Cannon Street
Thameslink Kent
London Victoria
Kent routes (inc above) (inc above) (inc above) (inc above) (inc above) (inc above)
Fast trains via East Croydon 16,200 87.1% 12,900 3,300 20% 390
Stopping trains via Balham 18,600 122.4% 11,500 7,100 38% 5,680
London Blackfriars
Thameslink 13,200 93.6% 7,900 5,300 40% 1,215
Terminating (all services)
London Waterloo
Windsor Lines (all services) 18,300 94.8% 9,000 9,300 51% 1,895
Stopping trains via Wimbledon 28,100 81.0% 15,100 13,000 46% 0
South West Main Line 22,100 164.9% 13,400 8,700 39% 10,710
Main Orbital routes
West London Line 6,116 203.9% 940 5,176 85% 3,566
East London Line 10,897 153.5% 2,560 8,337 77% 4,862
North London Line 3,336 95.3% 1,168 2,168 65% 361

Commentary on 2031 and 2050+ forecast capacity gaps

We now see over a half-million commuters wanting to use rail in the busiest inbound peak hour. A 3 hour inbound peak volume would then be perhaps 1.15 million passengers, a throughput over 70% more than in 2010. These figures also ignore reverse-flow commuting, which is a growing phenomenon in London and the Home Counties.

Multiply that by roundly 1,100 to 1,250, and you see the annualised volumes rising to 1.26-1.43 billion, so that London’s National Rail network would on its own be handling nearly as many passengers as the whole of Britain’s main line railways do currently.

About half of the inbound passengers would be standing, including outer commuters, if they could get on the trains (and would be less likely to find space, any space, on the inners), in the unfortunate event of no new capacity being provided in the intervening decades.

Even with solutions to capacity gaps, the standee London commuter will be a more typical experience on National Rail, in future decades.

That’s enough numbers. What does this mean on the ground? The following 2031 commentary on capacity gaps and solutions is summarised from the LSE RUS. The 2050+ commentary on the further gaps foreseen in the LTPP is by this author.

2031 and 2050+ commentary on London main line capacity gaps and solutions

Route into Potential interventions, other project comments.
RUS comments for 2031 solutions. JRC comments for 2050+.
London Paddington 2031: 5,800 long distance
& outer suburban gap, HEX onto relief lines as Crossrail Express, allows
20 tph on fast lines.
2050+: Further
3,400 gap, numbers are pre-Heathrow Hub. Are the main options 6-tracking to
Hayes, a new line, or a high capacity ‘digital railway’? (Also see SWML) Long
distance passenger growth pressures may be under-estimated with
attractiveness of commuting area, M4 congestion and GW electrification
‘sparks’ effect.
London Marylebone 2031: 1,200 gap = new tt, resignalling. 2050+: Further 3,600 gap, trains longer or other solution? There is
potential for Chiltern-OOC and Chiltern-Heathrow. London 2050 mentions
electrification.
London Euston 2031:
2,400 suburban gap, 8 tph via WCML-Crossrail.
2050+: Minor
long distance gap (All 11-car WCML solves, plus several extra WCML slots).
Further 4,500 suburban gap requires use of WCML fast slots. HS2 allows relief
of these forecast WCML commuting pressures.
London St Pancras 2031:
HS1 all 12-car. IEP, HS2 help with MML interCity capacity.
2050+: HS1 more
paths, and to Hastings. MML gaps = 5-6 tph if average 450-500 pax/I’City
train, feasible on MML. HS2 less likely to assist with 2060 capacity needs,
if this is London outer commuting from Kettering etc. Is there a ‘digital
railway’ solution for Thameslink outers standing?
London King’s Cross 2031:
HS2 relieves ECML, high capacity trains for T’link ECML + Anglia. IEP for
Kings Lynn [train spec changed now]. Higher tph on Moorgate line with
6-tracks Alexandra Palace-Finsbury Park.
2050+: Further 5,400 gap. The case for
Crossrail 2 (CR2) starts here. Should CR2 trains run on GN? – might be good
VfM and benefits, more line capacity if CR2 to Hertford. Welwyn
viaduct/tunnel widening might be required for outer commuting, or ‘digital
railway’ capacity gains.
London Liverpool Street 2031:
WAML: +2tph began Dec.2011, 12-car services, Stratford shuttle by 2019. GEML:
Crossrail 1, Bow-Stratford works, 12-car 26 tph early 2020s, 28 tph
2031.
2050+: Further
3,800 gap West Anglia, 9,500 GEML. New line(s) needed. WAML: Lea Valley
4-track + CR2. GEML: capacity gap if 800/900 per 12-cars = 11-12 tph. 8-track
Liv.St. New GEML main line? Or WA 4-track via Stansted to Colchester?
Crossrail 1 Gt.Eastern full. CR1 Abbey Wood full if to Ebbsfleet, see
Fenchurch Street comments. More real tracks needed, not just ‘digital
tracks’.
London Fenchurch Street 2031: Fenchurch St. full at 85% level, if
all trains 12-car.
2050+: Further
6,800 gap. Another 8-9 tph. Points to new line also relieving Crossrail 1
branches.
to/via London Bridge 2031: Main capacity gain
with Thameslink services (Kent now excluded), & all SE 12-car. [With no
Thameslink Kent, will 2031 capacity be achieved?] Lengthening on Uckfield and
Vic-Kent, and 12-car on Southern suburban. Clapham stops on Gatwick Express
are also considered.
2050+: Forecast
gap 27,300 extra. This is 30-34 tph, at 800/900 pax per train. Fewer tph if
some 12-car inners and standees. Large-scale capacity shortfall from Kent and
Sussex corridors, incl outer commuting. Overloads possible on SAZ links to
Canary Wharf, Stratford, Old Oak Common. [Doesn’t help that Croydon isn’t
included as a SAZ, to reduce inbound rail demand within London.] Can HS1
greater use and ATO etc on SE main lines solve this scale of problem? Might
require at least one new line from outer London, possibly towards London
Bridge and Canary or Stratford, plus potential for through 12-car services
BML to Old Oak Common to connect with HS2, with re-organisation of Clapham
Junction and East Croydon junctions.
London Victoria
London Blackfriars 2031: 900 gap causes RUS concern as frequency and platform
capacities limit available solutions. RUS considers Overground-style
trains.
2050+: Gap
worsens, either high-density trains or platform lengthening or ‘digital
railway’.
London Waterloo 2031:
Re-use of Waterloo International & 10-car suburbans, addresses inner
problems. SWML needs 5th track Waterloo-Surbiton, or Crossrail 2 relief, with
full relief not guaranteed.
2050+: Further
5,000 gap, mainly SWML. 12-car Windsor lines, inners. The first 16-car
commuter train, on SWML? SWML + GWML overload might point to new SW/GW main
line, via Heathrow?
Main Orbital Routes 2031: 6,800 pax gap = 14 tph overall (JRC
estimate). Longer trains needed. [Initial TfL project under way for 5-cars.] 8-car Southern trains on WLL also supported.
2050+: JRC
demand projection is LSE RUS 2031 back to 2023 then x 20 years with PGS
growth. Further gap 2,200, points to 6-8-car operation on all orbitals.

These tables shows some stark consequences. Unless all London main line schemes proposed to 2031 are adopted in one form or other, the starting capacity in 2031 will be worse than expected, causing greater difficulties in succeeding years. That assumes HS2 and Crossrail 2 are built, along with a large range of 10-car and 12-car commuter operations. London 2050 population growth may make the 2031 gap a moving target. The forward gap to 2050+ is a call to action on many routes.

These PGS forecasts are not London 2050’s, but are in some ways easier to understand and more conventional than London 2050, because they are a straightforward Network Rail extrapolation of where it is thinks the shape of London and Home Counties travel to work is heading. London 2050 has largely restated the known Network Rail schemes, and then added further schemes to suit the potential spatial formats. Network Rail has also been busy thinking about other projects, so the London 2050 list includes some of those as well.

Written by Jonathan Roberts