Press Releases

HISTORIC PRESS RELEASE : Work on East London Line Northern Extension gets Underway [December 2001]

The press release issued by the Strategic Rail Authority on 5 December 2001.

Rail Project will be major boost for transport and jobs in the capital

Secretary of State for Transport Stephen Byers, Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London and Richard Bowker, new Chairman of the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) today welcomed the start of work on the northern extension of the East London Line (ELL).

This phase of work will see the ELL extended from Whitechapel, via new stations at Bishopsgate, Hoxton, Haggerston and Dalston, to link with national rail network lines towards Highbury & Islington and Finsbury Park. Powers have also recently been granted by the Secretary of State to extend the East London southwards in two directions running towards Wimbledon, Crystal Palace and West Croydon. Work on all lines is scheduled for completion by 2006.

Stephen Byers, Ken Livingstone, and Richard Bowker attended a start-of-construction ceremony at the site of the new station in Dalston. They were welcomed by Paul Godier, new Managing Director of London Underground Limited (LUL).

Speaking at the ceremony, Stephen Byers said:

“This is the first step towards this new line which will not only bring much needed investment to the capital but will also help to ease congestion on existing Tube and rail lines.

“The northern extension will mean people from Hackney and Dalston will no longer have to use a combination of buses and the Victoria line to travel to the centre of the capital.”

Welcoming the start of work, Ken Livingstone said:

“Today heralds the start of a long overdue new phase of rail construction, the like of which has not been seen since Victorian times. This northern extension of the ELL will play a crucial role in bringing new jobs and prosperity to north-east London.

“It will be followed by other major projects including CrossRail and, in the longer term, the Hackney-South West tube line. My aim is to increase London’s rail capacity by 40 per cent over the next ten years.”

Richard Bowker, Chairman of the SRA, said:

“I am delighted, in my first week as Chairman of the SRA, to be marking the start of works on the East London Line extension – a key project to ease congestion and boost regeneration in the Capital. One of my key aims in the short term is to bring the various stakeholders in the railway industry more closely together, and the East London Line partnership between the SRA, London Underground and Transport for London is a great example to build on.”

Commenting, LUL’s Paul Godier said:

“The commencement of this project is excellent news for London and its regeneration. It will serve areas of the capital which at present are poorly served by public transport, and will be closely integrated with the Tube network.

“The project will bring many opportunities to commuters, businesses and tourists. It will help ease congestion on a number of routes around north-east London, with significantly quicker journeys to central London and the City.”

London’s Transport Commissioner, Bob Kiley, welcomed the integrated approach taken by Transport for London (TfL), the SRA, the Government and LUL to get this work underway.

Mr Kiley said:

“Effective, properly-planned transport links are vital for London. This ELL has a key part to play in creating an ‘Orbirail’ system for London, providing Metro-style services around central London. It is refreshing to see such a concrete example of the results of co-operation.”