Report on building Homes over railway lines in London (Engineering and Technology)

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A quarter of a million new homes could be built in London if provisions are made to allow developers to build on top of railway lines, according to a new report.

The report, Out of Thin Air, states that modern engineering techniques could be used to construct apartment blocks directly above rail, Overground and Underground lines.

Hectares upon hectares of land could be created in even some of the capital’s most densely populated areas the report states. For example, it estimate that a minimum of 1,000 new homes could be provided at Victoria.

“The station, the airspace above its tracks and approaches and nearby sites have significant potential for mixed use intensification, capitalising on enhancement to the public transport interchange and improvements to accessibility and capacity,” said Bill Price, strategic growth director with report authors WSP.

Research from the report identified all rail tracks in Transport for London’s (TfL) fare zones 1-6 where there were no breaks in the track made by tunnels, roads or bridges and where there was ten metres of available land on both sides.

This would allow for the development of 100m² apartments in buildings rising to 12 storeys. If a conservative 10 per cent of this total was delivered it would provide 250,969 new homes.

The London boroughs of Brent, Ealing and Croydon and TfL Zones 2, 3 and 4 provided the most ‘overbuild’ development potential.

In addition the plan states that rail lines can form barriers to movement within sites, something that would be remedied by building over them. This would help to “knit the development into the surrounding area”. Building over railway tracks can provide opportunities to address existing constraints.

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Written by Long Branch Mike