Rail River Crossings in East London

MQT on 2014-09-17
Session date: 
September 17, 2014
Question By: 
Len Duvall OBE
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Can you outline to me any potential rail or light rail river crossings that could be built around the Thamesmead or Erith areas and potential timescales?


Answer for Rail River Crossings in East London

Answer for Rail River Crossings in East London

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Tackling the barrier effect of the river east of Tower Bridge is a vital element in addressing the long-term growth requirements of east and south east London, along with the economic development and regeneration needs of this part of the city. In recent years there have been significant improvements in cross river transport in some parts of east London including DLR and London Overground schemes. Further major improvements are committed and in the delivery pipeline, including Crossrail, which will provide a further new rail crossing of the river when it opens in 2019. This will directly benefit Thamesmead and Erith through interchange with existing rail and bus services at Abbey Wood.  An extension of Crossrail east of Abbey Wood to Belvedere and Erith and onwards to Ebbsfleet is also safeguarded by the Government.

I recognise that more will be needed and together with TfL I am working on plans to deliver further major schemes to serve this area. My recent 2050 Infrastructure Plan sets out why this is important within the context of London's wider strategic challenges. In particular London needs to maintain its world city status, house a population that is expected to exceed 11 million within 35 years, and become a better city in which to live as well as a bigger one. Maximising the potential of areas with significant growth capacity such as Thamesmead and Erith will be vital if we are to succeed in these aims. The Plan sets out a series of transport requirements designed to achieve this.

These include options for new crossings in this area, including bridges at Gallions Reach and at Belvedere, and TfL has recently consulted on these. Both would offer the potential for new bus services to link east and south east London, which would improve orbital public transport connections in the area.  

In the case of Gallions Reach, a bridge would end close to the existing DLR, and it may be feasible to extend the DLR across the bridge to serve Thamesmead. This concept will be considered as part of the next stage of work on river crossings in response to the recent consultation.  Furthermore, opportunities also exist to extend the heavy rail network across the river. Proposals to extend the London Overground to Barking Riverside are currently being consulted on, with implementation proposed by 2019. A further extension across the river to Thamesmead to connect up with Crossrail would also be possible. This is at a very early stage of investigation and there are currently no proposed timescales.