Press Releases

HISTORIC PRESS RELEASE : Strategic Rail Plan – Briefing Note for the South East [January 2002]

The press release issued by the Strategic Rail Authority on 14 January 2002.

(The area covered is that of the Government Office for London and the Government Office for the South East – Greater London, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey, East Sussex, West Sussex).

Objectives of the Strategic Plan

The Plan sets out how the SRA intends to tackle the rail industry’s problems and priorities in the short, medium and long term to:

  • restore stability in the industry, allowing performance to improve;
  • deliver growth to meet the 10 Year Plan core targets of :

    – 50% increase in passenger kilometres
    – reduction in overcrowding which breaches the SRA’s standards
    – 80% increase in freight tonne-kilometres

  • build a pipeline of projects at different stages of development against which contractors and suppliers can plan.

The plan also meets where possible SRA’s other priorities set by Government, including better integration with other transport modes, expansion of capacity and promotion of the use of the railway network.

The priorities have been developed taking into account dialogue with the Rail Passengers’ Committees for Southern and Western England, the London Transport Users Committee, Transport for London, the Government Offices for London, the Government Office for the South East and local authorities within the region.

The SRA is contributing to the preparation of the Regional Transport Strategy for the South East and maintains dialogue on the Mayor’s strategy for Greater London.

The SRA is currently taking part in the DTLR-sponsored Multi-Modal Study (MMS) process, and is represented on all the MMS Steering Groups. Some twenty studies are underway or have been completed in England.
As requested by the Secretary of State, the SRA is currently undertaking further work on the rail issues associated with the Access to Hastings Study, which was the first study Ministers considered.

National schemes with benefits for the South East:

  • Train Protection and Warning System
  • A Company Neutral Revenue Support schemes to be introduced in 2002 for intermodal and ‘less than trainload’ markets
  • Freight Facility Grants
  • Freight Small Schemes Fund
  • Incremental Outputs statements for track and signalling and stations
  • Rail Passenger Partnership Fund
  • Training through a National Rail Academy
  • National Rail Performance Fund to improve reliability of services
  • Proposals for a National Test Track to prove new rolling stock, before it is tested on the Railtrack network
  • A programme of improvements for passengers with disabilities to improve station access and special training for staff

Schemes of Particular Relevance for the South East

Priorities-Short Term

  • Some 1,700 new coaches to be introduced on the South Central, Connex South Eastern and South West Trains franchises by 2004
  • Completion of the Train Protection Warning System (TPWS)
  • East London Line. The extension of the East London Line to North and South will provide a new cross-London link, help regeneration and contribute to the further development of Docklands. The SRA has committed £39m for project development. Completion of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. Section 1 is scheduled for completion by 2003 and Section 2 to St Pancras by 2007

National projects with implications for London and the South East also include:

  • The establishment of a Rail Performance Fund in order to provide added resilience to the network
  • An ‘Accessibility for All’ programme which includes additional funding to ensure that TOCs, where necessary, are able to implement the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act
  • Simplification of the franchise structure by bringing services at key London terminals under single control wherever possible thereby reducing operational conflicts at congested parts of the network


  • Replacement of the Chiltern, South Central and South West Trains franchises which will deliver new rolling stock, increased capacity, greater reliability and better integration with other transport modes
  • Progress on the Thameslink 2000 project, providing Metro style frequencies through the centre of London
  • Platform extensions to accommodate longer trains on the Connex South Eastern, Great Northern and First Great Eastern franchises
  • Capacity improvements on the London -West Anglia route, incuding Stansted Airport

In parts of London and South East England, introduction of new trains for improved services is contingent on upgrades to the power supply. Work is underway to scope the costs and feasibility of doing this within the timescale required.
Passenger Service Requirements (PSRs), set out the minimum service operators must provide. They are being reviewed to establish whether changes could deliver a more robust timetable and extra capacity. The SRA is seeking to identify priorities for early action.

The principal projects for the South East are set out below.

Channel Tunnel Rail Link

The Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) is a completely new high speed rail link from the Channel Tunnel to London St. Pancras. It will provide high speed running for Eurostar services and for fast new domestic services linking major stations in Kent with St.Pancras. It will contribute to regeneration in the Thames Gateway area, east London, around St.Pancras and in several areas of Kent.

Developments (2002-2005)

  • CTRL Section One is two thirds complete, and is expected to open in 2003. It runs from the Channel Tunnel to the Thames Estuary, joining the Railtrack network at Fawkham Junction; to allow Eurostar trains to serve Waterloo; Eurostar journey times will be significantly reduced and release more capacity on the route via Tonbridge

Developments (2005-2010)

  • CTRL Section Two extends the new rail link from Ebbsfleet under the Thames to St Pancras. Work commenced in 2001, and the route is expected to be open early in 2007. Works include:
  • a new international station at Stratford, providing fast links to Paris and Brussels from Docklands
  • St Pancras remodelling, to accommodate Eurostar trains with an extension to the original train shed, and new platforms both for services using the Midland Main Line and domestic services from the CTRL
  • Construction of a new sub-surface station box at St Pancras and a tunnel link to the Great Northern route. The Thameslink 2000 project provides for fitting out this low level station and joining it to the Great Northern route at Belle Isle junction, North of Kings Cross. This will allow Great Northern services to be integrated into the Thameslink network
  • Fast domestic services will serve Ashford. Ebbsfleet, Stratford and St Pancras International
  • Fast domestic services are also expected to serve North West Kent and the Medway Towns, Ramsgate. Canterbury, Dover and Folkestone
  • Works to improve interchange at St Pancras- Kings Cross
  • Completion of CTRL Section Two will release land in the Kings Cross area for redevelopment
  • Preparations for the franchising process for the fast domestic services commenced last year ; a franchise proposal will be published by the SRA later this year
  • New high speed trains will need to be procured for domestic services
  • With Sections One and Two completed, CTRL will have capacity for up to eight Eurostar services per hour in each direction and up to eight domestic services in each direction in the peaks. The railway also has the potential to handle freight trains adapted to operate at high speeds
  • Journey times to Paris and Brussels will be reduced by over half an hour compared with today. There will be major domestic journey time improvements too; an example is a new journey time from Ashford to London of 37, against the current 75 minutes
  • Some capacity on the South East London suburban network will be released

Chiltern Railways

Developments 2001-2001 A Deed of Amendment to the existing franchise agreement took effect from April 2001. This ensures progress while the new franchise, for up to twenty years, is contractualised. The interim agreement commits Chiltern to:

  • Seven extra Class 168 vehicles to come into service in Summer 2002
  • Tougher incentive regimes- including penalties for falling below 83% on the SRA’s Public Performance Measure
  • 580 extra parking spaces, at seven stations, by March 2002
  • M40 Trains ( the parent company of Chiltern railways), working with Railtrack and its contractors, to proceed on the costing, design and development of schemes which will be committed in the new Franchise Agreement (see below)
  • Trial refurbishment of a Class 165 train to gauge passenger reaction

Developments 2002-2005 The following major commitments will be included in the new Franchise Agreement, which is currently being finalised:

  • Restoration of double track and an increase in line speed between Bicester North and Aynho Junction by August 2002. This will facilitate increased peak services to Banbury, Bicester North and Haddenham and Thames Parkway and provide a diversionary route for passengers during engineering work on the Southern end of the West Coast Main Line
  • Two extra platforms at London Marylebone and a new depot in the London area
  • An increase in the peak frequency to High Wycombe
  • Platform length extensions to accommodate eight –car trains at twelve stations ,for completion between May 2002 and May 2003
  • Fifteen new vehicles, for delivery in phases between Winter 2002 and Winter 2004, and a commitment for the future to order sufficient rolling stock to meet demand up to agreed levels
  • All Class 165 rolling stock to be refurbished to an agreed standard for completion in 2004,or replaced by 2006
  • Improved passenger information, security and accessibility at Chiltern stations, and some other stations served by Chiltern
  • Fifteen out of sixteen of all trains, all day, to arrive at their destinations within SRA punctuality standards from the end of 2003
  • Project management of the trial of ERTMS ( the train control system) on the route

Developments (2005-2010) The duration of the Chiltern franchise will be reviewed in 2005, in the light of
achievement on the commitments above, and progress made on developing further schemes, including:

  • Further infrastructure enhancement work, including restoring four tracks between West Ruislip and Northolt Junction, and through Beaconsfield
  • Upgrade of the route between London and Aylesbury via Amersham, to improve journey times and service frequencies
  • West Hampstead interchange station
  • New services Aylesbury/Oxford/Bletchley/Milton Keynes ( a route closed to passenger services in the 1960’s)
  • Development of an extension North of Aylesbury, to a new M1/M6 Parkway station
  • In the event that capacity is available, the operation of half-hourly local all-stations services in Greater London

Connex South Eastern
Developments 2001-2002

  • Introduction of 210 vehicles of new Class 375 rolling stock by Summer 2002
  • Investments of £40.5m in rolling stock reliability improvement for Class 465,466 and 508 trains

Developments 2002-2005

  • Connex South Eastern ( CSE) are required to replace all remaining Mark 1 rolling stock by the end of 2004 at the latest

CSE are preparing a proposal for an extension, which is expected to contain the following features:

  • Refurbishment of all Class 465, 466 Networker vehicles and redeployment of some of the fleet on Kent Weald services.
  • 180 purpose built Metro vehicles for lines from Dartford and Hayes to London Bridge, Charing Cross and Cannon Street, specially designed to deal with high numbers of boarding and alighting passengers
  • additional vehicles to accommodate growth and reduce overcrowding
  • extending platforms on the Gillingham and Dartford via Greenwich routes to accommodate twelve car trains ( platforms on the Dartford via Bexleyheath and Sidcup routes are to be extended to accommodate twelve-car trains under the Thameslink 2000 project), to increase capacity and reduce overcrowding

IOS stations
CSE has 145 stations eligible for upgraded facilities under the IOS scheme. The works are due to be completed by the end of 2004.

IOS infrastructure
The SRA is supporting, subject to value for money tests, the following incremental improvement to the network:

IOS infrastructure Main output Key requirement Expected completion date
Tunbridge Wells Operational Flexibility Twelve-car trains able to turn back at both platforms 2004-2005

RPP Proposal
The following RPP proposal is currently being assessed for possible funding

RPP Proposal Status Output
Camberwell Station pre-qualified New station (CSE and Thameslink). New Herne Hill-Blackfriars shuttle to provide additional capacity.

East London Line

The extension of the East London Line to North and South will provide a new cross-London link. It will help regeneration and contribute to the further development of Docklands. The East London Line is currently operated by London Underground, from Shoreditch to New Cross and New Cross Gate. The SRA, Transport for London and the Mayor for London have agreed that the line will be developed to the standards of the national rail network.

The line is to be extended North (partly over old railway infrastructure) to a new junction at Dalston, allowing through services to Highbury, Islington and beyond, and South to destinations including Wimbledon , Crystal Palace and West Croydon. Transport for London has plans to integrate bus and Underground services with the expanded East London Line, and new interchanges will be provided at Dalston Junctionand Shoreditch (Bishopsgate), as well as new stations at Hoxton and Haggerston.

The extension will be built under a Private Finance Initiative concession, under which the private sector will design, build, finance and maintain the project. The concession will be awarded by the SRA. Powers to construct the extension were obtained in 1997 for the Northern extension, and in October 2001 for the Southern section.
Work on the Northern extension has begun. The target for the opening of the entire extension is 2006.

Developments (2001-2002)

  • The SRA has committed £39m for project development, sufficient to purchase and to allow a start to engineering works on the Northern section; works have begun.
  • LUL have begun works in the Dalston, Bishopsgate Goods Yard and Allen Gardens area.

Developments (2002-2005)

  • Major works on the Northern section are scheduled to be commenced by LUL this Autumn on bridges at Kingsland, Dalston and Shoreditch
  • The SRA will let the concession for the extension later this year, and control of works will then pass to the concessionaire
  • New stations will be built in Hoxton, Haggerston and Dalston Junction, and on the site of the old Bishopsgate Goods Yard
  • Works on the Southern extension will be progressed in parallel once the concession has been awarded
  • New trains will be procured

Developments (2005-2010)

  • North-South services on the East London Line are intended to be a stepping stone to the creation, in the longer term, of an Orbirail franchise, linking with services on the North London Line, and possibly the West London Line, to provide an orbital alternative to journeys across the central areas of London.

First Great Eastern*

The present franchise expires in 2004, and will be replaced by a new Greater Anglia franchise, comprising, this area’s services, West Anglia and Anglia services; the key benefits in the Great Eastern area will include:

  • More effective use of capacity into Liverpool Street station, to provide a better service and reduce overcrowding
  • Possible capacity improvement on the Great Eastern Main Line route

IOS stations
First Great Eastern has 40 stations eligible for upgrading facilities under the IOS scheme. The works are due to be completed by the end of 2004.

RPP Proposal
The following RPP proposals is currently being assessed for possible funding:

RPP proposal Status Output
Stratford station Pre-qualified Extended platform and revised signalling to allow more peak services to stop.

* See Eastern England briefing for details of developments in Essex and Suffolk.

Gatwick Express

Developments 2001-2002

  • Additional luggage facilities to be added to the new fleet of Class 460 Juniper trains
  • New portable ticket issuing equipment

Development 2002-2005

  • Gatwick Express is seeking to reduce journey times between London and Gatwick to 28 minutes, and to start trains on the hour, half and quarters, from both ends of the route; these changes will take some time to be incorporated in the timetable
  • Feasibility studies are currently being undertaken on Victoria check-in facilities, to explore the possibilities of expanding/improving the facilities available to passengers

Island Line
Developments 2001-2002

  • Two year franchise extension to September 2003 agreed with Stagecoach in March 2001
  • The franchise extension commenced in October 2001 and provides an improved Passenger’s Charter ( including added customer benefits); it gives the franchisee additional incentives to maintain good performance, by providing for refunds for serious delays or cancellations and sets a stringent penalty threshold for season ticket refunds
  • Additional services from Ryde Pier Head to Shanklin on High Summer Saturdays, to provide three trains per hour, sponsored by the ferry operator Wightlink.
  • Installation of “Train Stop” system, which applies the brakes on any train passing a signal at danger
  • A report commissioned by the SRA investigated future options for rail service provisions on the Island; consultation on the report has been completed and the SRA is now developing its strategy in the light of the results of the consultation

Developments 2002-2005

  • The SRA will start discussions on the replacement of the current franchise early this year
  • Consideration is being given to work to remove a speed restriction at Rowborough


Developments 2001-2002

  • Secure station accreditation being sought for eight stations
  • Real time train information fed to screens at North London Line stations

Developments 2002-2005

  • Silverlink Metro to open new telephone lines providing route and timetable information
  • The SRA, Silverlink and Angel Trains are in final negotiations to acquire three three-car Class 508 trains to relieve overcrowding: the SRA has approved these trains for introduction in 2002 subject to final negotiation; this will enable Silverlink to deliver additional peak services on the North London Line between Stratford and Camden Road, to alleviate severe overcrowding
  • Silverlink are making proposals for a two-year extension. The aim would be additional capacity, particularly on the North London Line

There appear to be advantages in terms of making best use of available network capacity, in combining the Virgin West Coast and Silverlink franchises or services operating into Euston. The SRA is consulting with stakeholders on the general principle of single management of services into each of the London terminals, and will announce its conclusion shortly. Combination could take place at the expiration for the Silverlink franchise, in 2004, or possibly before, if suitable terms could be agreed. In addition, an option for the Metro services would be to transfer them to form the core of the proposed Orbirail franchise with in due course, services on the extended East London Line.

IOS stations

Silverlink had 53 stations eligible for upgraded facilities under the IOS scheme. The works are due to be completed by the end of 2004

IOS infrastructure

The SRA is supporting, subject to value for money tests, the following incremental improvements to the network:

IOS infrastructure Main output Key requirement Expected completion date
Barking Operational Flexibility Ability to run two trains from Gospel Oak into one platform 2005-06
Willesden Junction
(High Level)
Operational Flexibility Ability to turn back trains in a central siding 2004-05

RPP proposals
The following RPP proposals are currently being assessed:

RPP proposal Status Output
Willesden to Clapham approved Summer Sunday service, to start Summer 2002
West London line under appraisal Improved services; new stations at Shepherd’s Bush and Chelsea Harbour

South Central

Developments 2001-2002 Govia, which operates services under the South Central name, was selected as the preferred counterparty for the new South Central franchise; the existing franchise has been transferred from Connex to Govia to allow Govia to begin its development programme as soon as possible.

Over the coming months SRA will be working with Govia to contractualise the heads of terms for the new Franchise Agreement.

Developments 2002-2005 The heads of terms between Govia and the SRA announced on 24 October 2000 included the following commitments from Govia. Signature of the new Franchise Agreement is currently anticipated to be in late 2002.

  • 400 new Electrostar vehicles to be introduced into service during 2002-2003, operating the majority of off-peak and some peak services during 2003
  • a further 300 Electrostar vehicles ( or equivalent) to allow all Sussex Coastway services to be operated by Electrostars ( or equivalent) from December 2004
  • Mark 1 stock released by introduction of Electrostar vehicles to be used initially for peak strengthening, with full withdrawal of Mark 1 stock by the statutory date of 31 December 2004
  • Electrification of lines from Hurst Green to Uckfield, and Ore to Ashford, allowing for electric operation between Ashford International – South Coast and Uckfield – London
  • Station improvements
  • Increased depot capacity
  • Platform lengthening
  • “Stakeholder Board” to be introduced to give passengers a voice in the development of the franchise
  • Passenger’s charter improvements include compensation for delays and missed connections, more customer focused compensation arrangements and a commitment to improve information and customer service, from commencement of the new Franchise Agreement
  • Commitment to nine out of ten trains arriving within SRA punctuality standards

South London

  • Enhancement of the South London Metro suburban services, including all-day services with generally higher frequencies from early morning to late evening, earlier first trains, later last trains, and longer trains on some routes, giving four trains per hour on eight out of ten Metro routes
  • Refurbishment of all power door rolling stock to improve both passenger environment and reliability, including all Class 455 and 456 trains

Brighton Main Line

  • Enhancements at Gatwick Airport station for performance and capacity gains
  • Improved frequency and journey to Sussex Coast, and infrastructure work including a new flyover at Windmill Bridge Junction on the Brighton Main Line, a capacity bottleneck

Sussex Coastway

  • Infrastructure facilities to allow trains to overtake slower stopping services on the Coastway route

Arun Valley

  • Upgrade of Arun Valley line, improving line speed and capacity, and providing diversionary and relief route for Brighton Main Line via a new East facing chord with the Coastway route
  • Upgrade of Sutton route, including the development of track and station facilities at Epsom station

IOS infrastructure
The SRA is supporting, subject to value of money tests, the following incremental improvements to the network:

IOS infrastructure scheme Main output Key requirement Date
Clapham Junction to Mitre Bridge Operational flexibility Reduce headway to three minutes by raising line speed 2004-5
Havant-Brighton Flexibility Provide facilities at Worthing to permit fast services to overtake slow services.


  • As part of a package of investigations, Railtrack has at the SRA’s request, employed consultants to survey the electric traction power supply on part of the South Central area
  • The heads of terms between Govia and the SRA also included a commitment from Govia to introduce additional trains into service each year throughout the duration of the franchise to meet expected demand; up to a total of 1000 new vehicles could enter service between 2001 and 2010

South West Trains
Developments 2001-2002

  • “Full Crew” working, where Guard, Driver and train stay together for working shift, allowing faster service recovery in times of disruption
  • continued introduction of New Class 458 Jupiter trains
  • sanding equipment for better running in poor conditions, already fitted to all Class 159 trains and to be fitted to all Class 455 by the end of 2001

The SRA has agreed heads of terms with Stagecoach to replace the South West Trains franchise with a new twenty year franchise. The two parties making progress towards signing of the replacement Franchise Agreement

Developments 2002-2005

  • RPP-funded scheme to modernise Brentford station, work due to commence this year: enhanced services already commenced

Commitments to the following improvements are included in the heads of terms agreed between the SRA and South West Trains:

  • 785 new Siemens Desiro vehicles have been ordered to replace existing Mark 1 stock and provide additional capacity to relieve overcrowding
  • additional services on weekday evenings to Southampton, Portsmouth, Hampton Court, Dorking, Kingston, Shepperton, Windsor and Guildford via Cobham
  • additional Sunday services to Portsmouth, Reading, Windsor, Hampton Court, Chessington and Guildford via Cobham
  • longer platforms at Waterloo and 60 other stations to accommodate trains up to ten cars, in place of the present eight cars. This will give a further increase in peak capacity over most of the suburban system
  • a recast of the timetable from Reading and Windsor to Waterloo, and the Main Line timetable. This will provide overall 16% increase in peak capacity to Waterloo, and a frequency of at least four trains per hour at suburban stations on both the Richmond and Hounslow lines
  • introduction of a four trains per hour frequency between Shepperton and Kingston
  • generally higher frequencies from early morning to late evening

IOS infrastructure

The SRA is supporting, subject value for money tests, the following incremental improvements to the network:

IOS infrastructure scheme Main output Key requirement Date
Farnborough Operational flexibility 50mph crossovers 2005-06

RPP proposals
The following RPP proposals are currently being processed:

RPP proposal Status Output
Chandler’s Ford Station pre-qualified New station, with car and cycle parking.

Developments 2005-2010
Further proposals in the Heads of Terms include:

  • redevelopment of Clapham Junction, including overbridge or upper concourse with lift or escalator access to platform level, passenger lounges and improved shelter on platforms
  • passenger circulation improvements at Waterloo
  • upgrading of Wimbledon and Vauxhall stations to improve interchange with the London Underground
  • proposals for improving the reliability of infrastructure to give better punctuality of services
  • improved facilities, including CCTV linked to British Transport Police control, at all stations
  • toilets and improved waiting areas at all staffed stations
  • all platforms accessible to people with disabilities by 2014
  • introduction of a four trains per hour frequency between Hampton Court and Surbiton

Thames Trains

Developments 2001-2002

  • refurbishment of Class 166 trains ( over one third of total fleet)
  • £2m to be spent on station improvements in 2001-02
  • TrainBus campaign of integrated rail- link buses, integrated tickets in all conurbations served, and other areas, and special connections for towns not served by rail

Developments 2002-2010

  • Thames Trains to project manage the trial of the ERTMS train control system on the route.

The Thames Trains franchise expires in 2004. There is a possibility of a two-year extension, with passenger benefits, which could include increased capacity. There appear to be advantages, in terms of making the best use of available network capacity, in combining the Thames Trains franchise with the Great Western Franchise; an opportunity could arise at the replacement of the First Great Western franchise in 2006. The SRA is consulting with stakeholders on the general principle of uniting management of services into each of the London terminals under single operators, and will announce its policy shortly.

Key issues for any new franchisee for the Thames Trains area will include:

  • Additional rolling stock, to provide extra capacity.
  • Journey time improvements
  • Improved integration with Heathrow Airport
  • Car parking capacity

IOS stations – Thames has 36 stations eligible for upgraded facilities under the IOS scheme. The works are due to be completed by the end of 2004.
IOS infrastructure

IOS infrastructure scheme Main output Key requirement Date
Newbury Operational flexibility Provide for passenger trains to terminate in the down platform and turn back towards Reading 2004-5


Developments 2001-2002

  • Timetable improvements from Bedford and Luton to London from Summer 2001. Faster ‘clock-face’ services between London and Gatwick, and four trains per hour between London and Gatwick stopping only at East Croydon.
  • Secure station accreditation achieved at Tooting, South Merton, St Helier, Sutton Common, Haydons Road, Wimbledon Chase, Morden South, City Thameslink, Leagrave and West Sutton. Also being pursued for Hendon, West Hampstead and Cricklewood stations.
  • TPWS fitted to all Thameslink 319 units.

Developments 2002-2010

  • Proposals to increase level of morning peak service in the Northern part of the franchise being considered for Winter 2002
  • Review of timetable provision, to take advantage of synergies with South Central services
  • Development of proposals for improved maintenance and stabling facilities
  • The “Capability” project will be rolled out, following a trial at St. Albans. This project is designed to enable staff to react more readily, and with authority, to customers’ needs
  • Acceleration of the renewal of signalling in the London Bridge area, which will allow increased flexibility in engineering possessions during implementation of the Thameslink 2000 project
  • The Thameslink franchise expires in 2004. Eight companies pre-qualified, in 2000, to bid for an enlarged franchise, including Great Northern services and certain services south of the Thames. The conclusions of the SRA-Railtrack procurement review for the Thameslink 2000 project announced in April 2001 will inform the franchise proposition offered. A further announcement will be made later this year. There is also a possibility of a two-year extension of the franchise to secure additional capacity. The extension could include the transfer of Great Northern services to Thameslink

Thameslink 2000
The Thameslink 2000 scheme is a major project subject to a contract between Railtrack and the SRA. It is dependent upon on the conclusions of a Transport and Works Act inquiry, the hearings of which ended in May 2001. If approved by the Secretary of State, the SRA expects to start in 2003, and to be completed in 2008. Principal outputs would be as follows:

  • Capacity to enable 24 trains per hour in each direction between Kings Cross and Blackfriars in peak periods, 18 of which would serve London Bridge
  • Platform extensions to accommodate 12-car trains on most of the routes intended to be used by Thameslink 2000 services, considerably increasing capacity, and reducing overcrowding
  • Linking of the Great Northern route into the central Thameslink section, increasing through journey and interchange opportunities, and thus relieving not only the existing Thameslink catchment areas and services on the Great Northern, but also major London interchanges, by offering more through destinations to and from South of London

IOS station – Thameslink has 21 stations – works to be completed by end of 2004.

IOS infrastructure

IOS Scheme Main Output Key Requirement Expected Completion Date
St Pancras- Bedford Operational flexibility Ability for trains to cross between fast and slow lines at 50mph between Cricklewood and Radlett. 2004-05

West Anglia Great Northern*

West Anglia Route Modernisation
The West Anglia route has seen considerable growth and is now capacity constrained. Renewal is in progress, and the section between Bethnal Green and Hackney Downs was recently completed. An enhancement programmes is being developed.

Consultants have reported to the SRA on options for upgrading, for which the various economic cases are now being tested. The SRA is negotiating details of funding with BAA, whose Stansted Airport drives much of the West Anglia’s route’s projected traffic; traffic at the airport is rapidly expanding.

The SRA has contracted with Railtrack for initial design and costing on certain options and for provision to be made for possible enhancement as renewals are carried out. The programme includes:

  • Four tracks Tottenham Hale – Brimsdown
  • Additional platforms and Liverpool Street station
  • Line speed improvements
  • Extended hours for services to Stansted Airport, and capacity enhancements at Stansted Airport station
  • Making signalling compatible with potential new rolling stock
  • Development of services to Stratford

IOS stations – WAGN has 90 stations eligible for upgrades, works due to be completed by the end of 2004.

RPP proposal

RPP Proposal Status Output
Finsbury Park Interchange pre-qualified expansion of the bus facility to improve interchange

* See Eastern England briefing for details of WAGN developments in Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk.


The main schemes affecting the South East are:


The SRA intends to develop and implement the following:

  • Works to clear the route to W12 gauge, to permit use of 9ft 6in high deep sea containers\swap bodies and 9ft 6in high, 2.6m wide European intermodal units on 1,000mmm deck -height wagons throughout between the port of Felixstowe and the West Coast Main Line (WCML) at Nuneaton
  • Works to provide capacity sufficient to accommodate 30-40 freight trains per day in each direction by 2010,to meet projected demand between East Anglia and the Midlands\North

Gauge and capacity improvements will help retain existing volumes of approximately 330,000 containers each year on rail to\from the port of Felixstowe (which would be progressively lost, as standard container heights increase to 9ft 6ins, without these improvements) and should absorb continuing growth in the deep sea and short sea intermodal markets. An additional benefit is the release of extra paths on the existing routes of the Great Eastern, north London Line and WCML south of Nuneaton for passenger and/or freight growth in these regions.

Developments (2001-2002)

  • Feasibility work completed on W12 gauge clearance and capacity
  • Estimates for W12 gauge and capacity work on target for completion in early 2002.
  • Project implementation plan under development, in consultation with rail freight industry, to secure maximum early benefits from work o date; first physical project works to commence this year

Developments (2001-2002)

Output Expected Completion Date
London diversionary route cleared to W10 gauge 2003-4
Leicester-Nuneaton resignalling to provide improved signalling headways and layouts 9junctions and crossings) increase capacity and accommodate 775m trains 2003-4
Full W10 gauge clearance on route 2004-5
Full W12 gauge clearance 2005

Developments (2005-2010)

Output Expected Completion Date
Full capacity enhancement completed 2010

Southampton-West Midlands

The upgrade of this route has as its objectives the ability to convey larger containers, retention and expansion of the current 35% market share for freight.

Southampton is a key growth opportunity for rail. By 2010 the throughput of Southampton is projected to be 720,000 twenty foot equivalent units (TEU) per year and the new port proposed at Dibden Bay, if approved, would provide an additional throughput of some 1m TEUs per year. The expected completion date for full capacity enhancement of this route is 2009 with gauge clearance by 2005 and container length enhancement by 2006.

North London and Great Eastern freight specific works

The SRA intends to develop and implement the following:

  • W12 gauge clearance on the Great Eastern south of Ipswich and across North London (East-West), along with a diversionary route cleared to W10 gauge.

These works should deliver a 50% increase over existing freight capacity across North London, and accommodate projected growth from Thameside ports and industry, and from possible developments at Bathside Bay and Shell Haven. Extra freight capacity on the Tottenham and Hampstead section will free passenger paths on the North London Line.

To facilitate proposed increases in passenger services on the North London Line and through Stratford, most of the work involving the Barking -Willesden line will need to be completed in advance, to accommodate displaced freight flows.

The benefits of this project are linked with the Felixstowe-Nuneaton project and, in particular, the linked clearance of Ipswich tunnel for longer vehicles: the freight trains using these lines will also require a proportion of the 42 paths south of Crewe to be delivered by WCRM, to provide viable through transits.

Developments (2002-2002)

  • Feasibility work on W12 gauge clearance Great Eastern/Thameshaven-WCML via Tottenham and Hampstead (including Hampstead Tunnel) and North London Line
  • Feasibility work on W10 clearance of North London Line
  • Feasibility work on providing capability for heavier trains (to at least Route Availability 10 between Barking and Willesden via Tottenham and Hampstead

Developments (2002-2005)

Outputs Expected Completion Date
W10 gauge clearance Thameshaven-Camden junction via Tilbury and North London Line 2003
Route availability 10 clearance Woodgrange Park-Harlesden Junction (WCML) via Tottenham and Hampstead 2003
Increased capacity by implementing improvements to signalling headways and junction speeds, Gospel Oak (from Tottenham and Hampstead)- Willesden Junction 2003
Increased capacity by implementing improvements to signalling headways, Woodgrange Park-Gospel Oak 2004
W10 clearance of the Great Eastern main Line: Stratford-Harwich and Ipswich (Halifax Junction) 2004
W10 clearance Woodgrange Park-Harlesden Junction (WCML) via Tottenham and Hampstead 2005
W12 clearance Woodgrange Park-Harlesden Junction (WCML) via Tottenham and Hampstead 2005

Longer Term Schemes

South London Metro

The Mayor of London’s Transport Strategy states that Transport for London will work with other parties “to identify a phased programme, co-ordinated with franchise replacement, for the implementation of the London Metro concept, including Orbirail”. This aspiration to integrate national Rail more closely into London’s wider public transport network is particularly applicable South London, where there is limited Underground provision.

The South London Metro concept aims to provide a ‘turn up and go’ high frequency service South of the Thames in the Greater London area.

A Steering Group , chaired by the SRA, comprising the key stakeholders, including TfL, Railtrack, the TOCs, local authority and passengers representatives has been meeting regularly to take forward implementation.

In the first instance, improvement in service provision is being secured through the replaced franchises for South West Trains and South Central and a possible extension of the Connex South Eastern franchise. In particular, higher frequency services in the off-peak, and refurbished rolling stock, will be delivered by South West Trains and South central as part of their franchise replacement programmes. A possibility in the South Eastern area is the acquisition of rolling stock specially designed for the high numbers of boardings and alightings characteristic of the Metro area.

In the longer term, the South London Metro concept would require a major increase in service frequencies on many routes, which could ultimately only be achieved by reallocating capacity, or by new investment. The SRA expects to fund development work on the potential of a higher frequency South London Metro during the period of this Plan.

London Crossrail

Options for taking forward this scheme as well as the proposed Merton-Hackney project are being developed by the newly formed SRA-TfL joint venture, Cross London Rail Links, with SRA and TfL together providing £150m for project development.

Several other schemes, such as the proposed High Speed Line, the Kings Cross Superhub and enhanced airport links will also provide benefits in the longer term for London and the South East. These will be further enhanced by the upgrade of the Great Western line and the ongoing outputs from the Network Management Statement.