The Mayor states that analysis to date shows a positive case for the extension of the Bakerloo line to south east London and he is therefore keen for TfL to explore the options further. The London Borough of Lewisham is supportive of the plans and meets regularly with TfL, along with the London Boroughs of Bromley and Southwark.
Funding is the key challenge. The estimated cost of the extension is between £2billion and £3billion and there would need to be significant third-party funding contributions.
As most of you will know, TfL is investigating a number of possible routes for the proposed extension. One option would connect Elephant and Castle via a new tunnel to New Cross Gate and Lewisham, where it could connect with existing rail services towards Bromley and south east London.This would have the potential to serve the Old Kent Road area, recently designated an Opportunity Area for jobs and homes in the Further Alterations to the London Plan. An alternative option is to run services, again via a new tunnel, from Elephant & Castle via Camberwell and Peckham Rye, New Cross Gate and Lewisham before heading to Hayes. A third option would be to take the Old Kent Road option described above and add a link from Beckenham Junction to Bromley town centre.
Discussions are ongoing and, as I mentioned in my news item on 2nd October, interested parties are invited to give their views as part of the current consultation (due to close on 7th December).
In his letter the Mayor also notes our concerns regarding overcrowding in the Lewisham area. He says:
"The fleet being introduced as part of the upgrade to Thameslink will enable Southeastern to lengthen its local trains from a maximum of 10 cars to 12 cars by 2019. I continue to press that TfL should become the contracting authority for the local Southeastern rail services operating out of Victoria, Charing Cross and Cannon Street, and there is an opportunity for this to be considered when the franchise is re-tendered in June 2018. Such devolution would lead to an improved customer experience in general and mean that TfL would have a more direct role in planning increases in train capacity and frequency across south London."