Chelsea–Hackney line

Chelsea–Hackney line
[v · d · e]Chelsea-Hackney line
Urban head station
Epping 2008 safeguarded route;
Urban stop on track
Theydon Bois take over Epping branch
Urban stop on track
Debden of the Central Line
Urban stop on track
Loughton north of Leytonstone
Urban stop on track
Buckhurst Hill
Unknown BSicon "uINT"
Woodford Central roundel1.PNG
Urban stop on track
South Woodford
Urban stop on track
Urban straight track Unknown BSicon "uCONTg"
Central Line to Woodford via Hainault
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Unknown BSicon "uexCPICl" Left side of urban cross-platform interchange
Leytonstone Central roundel1.PNG
Unknown BSicon "uexTUNNELa" Unknown BSicon "uCONTf"
Central Line
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Homerton Overground notextroundel.svg
Unknown BSicon "utINT"
Hackney Central Overground notextroundel.svg
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Dalston Junction Overground notextroundel.svg
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Essex Road National Rail
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Angel Northern roundel1.PNG
Unknown BSicon "utINT"
King's Cross St. Pancras National Rail Victoria roundel1.PNG Northern roundel1.PNG Piccadilly roundel1.PNG Metropolitan roundel1.PNG Circle roundel1.PNG H&c roundel.PNG
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Tottenham Court Road Central roundel1.PNG Northern roundel1.PNG Crossrail
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Piccadilly Circus Bakerloo roundel1.PNG Piccadilly roundel1.PNG
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Victoria National Rail District roundel1.PNG Circle roundel1.PNG Victoria roundel1.PNG
Unknown BSicon "uextABZlf" Unknown BSicon "uextCONTl"
Branch to Battersea for tunnelling and stabling
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Sloane Square District roundel1.PNG Circle roundel1.PNG
Unused urban tunnel stop on track
Chelsea King's Road (new station)
Unknown BSicon "uCONTg" Unknown BSicon "uexTUNNELe"
District Line
Right side of urban cross-platform interchange Unknown BSicon "uexCPICr"
Parsons Green District roundel1.PNG
Waterway turning to left Unknown BSicon "uxABZlg"
Urban stop on track
Putney Bridge take over
Urban stop on track
East Putney District Line
Urban stop on track
Southfields south of Parsons Green
Urban stop on track
Wimbledon Park
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Wimbledon National Rail Tramlink

The Chelsea–Hackney line (also referred to as the Chelney line, Hacksea line and Crossrail 2) is a safeguarded route for an underground railway running from south-west London to north-east London. The route in its modern form was first drawn up in the 1970s and although it is the highest profile project not yet under construction, it will not proceed before the completion of Crossrail 1 in 2018. During the early 2000s the plan was developed by Cross London Rail Links Ltd., the developers of Crossrail,[1] and the line is therefore sometimes known as Crossrail 2 and expected to be a large gauge tunnel.


Current plans

The current plans, safeguarded in 2008, include linking the District line's Wimbledon branch with the Central line's Epping branch via a route from Parsons Green to Leytonstone via Chelsea, Sloane Square, Victoria, Piccadilly Circus, Tottenham Court Road, King's Cross St. Pancras, Angel, Essex Road, Dalston Junction, Hackney Central and Homerton.[2][3] The safeguarding also includes a spur from Victoria across the Thames to Battersea Park for stabling and access to a tunnelling site.[2][4] The tunnel size that has been safeguarded is national rail standard (same as Crossrail 1). However the final decision as to the loading gauge has not yet been decided.[5]

Euston / High Speed 2

The line is considered the fourth major rail project in the capital after the East London line extensions (2012), Thameslink Programme (2018) and Crossrail 1 (2018). National Rail's projections of overcrowding led them to call for more new lines such as Chelsea-Hackney[6] but plans have gained more importance with the emergence of Euston as the London terminus of the planned High Speed 2 rail line.[7] High Speed 2 would bring an estimated 20,000 passengers onto the congested Northern and Victoria lines at Euston[8] so if HS2 is approved, Transport for London (TfL) plan to change the safeguarded route for Chelsea-Hackney to alter the alignment of the tunnels between Tottenham Court Road and Kings Cross St. Pancras so that a new station can be built at Euston.[7] On 28 June 2011, the Deputy Chair of Transport for London stated that such a new tube line running through Euston would be vital to disperse passengers from High Speed 2 when it extends beyond Birmingham.[9] For the same reason, the idea of the line serving Euston is also supported by Network Rail's Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) for London and the South East, published on 28 July 2011.[10]

By bringing in the Euston station to relieve a rebuilt Euston High Speed interchange, the Chelsea–Hackney line has a considerably improved business case.[7] Indeed, due to the expected numbers flooding onto the tube network at Euston, it would become a necessity.[8] While it is not affordable in the early 2010s, it would be cheaper than Crossrail 1 due to fewer central London stations and it was reported in February 2011 that the Mayor of London would be talking a lot more about building the new line.[8]

Northern and southern destinations

Network Rail's July 2011 RUS for London and the South East supports the existing safeguarded route but speculates about possible modifications (in addition to re-routeing via Euston, as noted above). To the south, it suggests that the tunnels should go from Victoria via Clapham Junction to beyond Wimbledon, instead of surfacing near Parsons Green and taking over the District Line from there to Wimbledon. To the north, it suggests that the West Anglia corridor would be a better destination than a branch of the Central Line. These suggestions are driven by what the RUS sees as the need for extra capacity on the South West Main Line and the West Anglia corridor respectively.


Early plans

A west/north-east tube line was originally planned as early as 1901[11] and a bill was put before parliament in 1904.[12] However political manoeuvring by rival tube magnate Charles Yerkes killed off the proposal.[11]


The plan was revived in 1970 by London Transport's London Rail Study as the next project after the completion of the Victoria line and the Fleet line (renamed as the Jubilee line). Designed to relieve pressure on the District, Central and Victoria lines, and to link two areas without tube services, the route would have taken over the Wimbledon branch of the District as far as Parsons Green, then followed a new underground alignment to Leytonstone, where it would then take over one of the branches of the Central Line.[13] For financial reasons the line was not built, but over the years the idea, or variations of it have emerged.

The proposal as of the 1974 London Rail Study was:

Commencing at Wimbledon (takeover or share the District line branch)

Continuing to Hainault (takeover or share the Central line branch)


Following the Central London Rail Study of 1989, a route through central London was safeguarded. In the existing safeguarding of the route, the line would start from Wimbledon through to :-

from there taking the Central Line through to Epping. As the route would serve both King's Cross and Kings Road it was suggested that the line could be named Kings line. It was decided however that the Jubilee line Extension should take priority and the project was postponed.


In 1995, an alternative plan, the Express Metro was put forward that would utilise more existing track, have fewer stations and be built to National Rail standards. It would take one of three routes from East Putney on the District Line to Victoria station; either Putney Bridge, Parsons Green and Chelsea or (King's Road) as in the original safeguarded plan; or to Wandsworth Town and Clapham Junction and then either via Chelsea Harbour and King's Road or via Battersea.

From Victoria it would then call at

and then split into two branches, one to Leytonstone and then on to Epping taking over the Central Line, the other taking over the North London Line to Woolwich,[11] since used by the Docklands Light Railway.

The 1991 safeguarding also included a spur south of Victoria across the river to Battersea Park, but this was only for stabling of trains and to access a riverside tunnelling site.


The London East West Study in 2000 considered Crossrail, the Chelsea–Hackney line and a combination of the two, going from Wimbledon to Tottenham Court Road and then on to Liverpool Street. The Study supposes mainline gauge, and therefore would omit a station at Piccadilly Circus. Its version of the Chelsea-Hackney Regional Metro splits in the north, with one branch going via Dalston and taking over the Epping branch of Central line, and the other heading to Finsbury Park, then using the disused alignment of the Northern Heights plan, taking over the High Barnet branch of the Northern Line. The Express Metro option instead would run on the East Coast Main Line.[11][14]

In 2007 the east-west Crossrail was given the go-ahead over the Chelsea–Hackney despite some commentators favouring the latter[15] (putting the implementation of the line back behind Crossrail's completion date: 2018) and the Chelsea-Hackney plans were taken over by Crossrail and the project was labeled Crossrail 2.

In 2007, the 1991 route was updated – Sloane Square was dropped from the plan and it was decided to take over the Central line's Epping branch from Leytonstone and re-safeguarded.[12] Due to objections from residents of Sloane Square, it was reintroduced the following year.[2][4] Southwest Trains' Wimbledon depot was also safeguarded as a depot for the new line.[4] The safeguarding was enlarged from a tube gauge line to a national rail loading gauge as it became clear that larger and longer trains would be needed.[5] Of the three routes proposed for south-west London the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea initially favoured one going south via Imperial Wharf to Clapham Junction, but now supports the more traditional take over of the District line's Wimbledon branch.[16] Under these present plans, only one entirely new station would be constructed – at Chelsea.

Criticism and other proposals

A link to Clapham Junction from Victoria via Imperial Wharf is also being examined although it is not part of the protected route. This would end that station's isolation from the London Underground network. Clapham Junction was shown as an interchange with Crossrail 2 on an earlier TfL East London Line routemap.[17]

There is also the possibility of another station outside what is on the official safeguarding. Hackney Council plans show a station around the Temple Mills area (almost in Newham) which if it becomes part of the official plans would be in the north part of the Olympic Park. The plan, dated before the awarding of the Olympics in 2005, showed the station to be roughly where the Northern Transport Interchange for the Olympic Park now is.[18]

No interchange station with the Jubilee line has been proposed as yet, despite the two routes crossing between Victoria and Piccadilly Circus on the safeguarded route and between Green Park and Westminster on the Jubilee line. The Jubilee and Waterloo and City lines are the only London Underground lines with no proposed interchange with the new route.


  1. ^ "Chelsea-Hackney Line". Crossrail. Retrieved 12 April 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c Chelsea–Hackney Line Safeguarding Directions, June 2008 Part A (PDF), Crossrail, accessed 22 December 2010
  3. ^ Chelsea–Hackney Line Safeguarding Directions, June 2008 Part B (PDF), Crossrail, accessed 22 December 2010
  4. ^ a b c Consultation on safeguarding revision of the Chelsea Hackney Line – outcome report, Department for Transport
  5. ^ a b Trouble Up The (Dalston) Junction – The Difficulties of Safeguarding, London Reconnections
  6. ^ New lines 'may be needed to beat train overcrowding' Press Association
  7. ^ a b c HS2 fuels Crossrail 2 business case
  8. ^ a b c The most talked about project this year won't be Crossrail – it'll be Crossrail 2, New Civil Engineer 2 February 2011
  9. ^ Transport Select Committee, 28 June 2011, House of Commons
  10. ^ "London and South East Route Utilisation Strategy". Network Rail. 28 July 2011. pp. 154-155. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  11. ^ a b c d e Feather, Clive. "Technical information about the Chelsea-Hackney Line". Retrieved 7 March 2008. 
  12. ^ a b "Consultation on safeguarding revision for the Chelsea-Hackney line". Department for Transport. Retrieved 18 October 2007. 
  13. ^ "London Transport plans third new Tube Line". The Times (UK). 2 January 1970. 
  14. ^ "London East West Study". Shadow Strategic Rail Authority. 2000.*/$FILE/eastwest.pdf. 
  15. ^ Crossrail will eat money. Kill it, Boris, and save the bankrupt Tube instead, Evening Standard
  16. ^ "Chelsea-Hackney Line: first on the agenda". Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. October 2003. Retrieved 18 October 2007. 
  17. ^ "East London Railway extensions". Retrieved 23 February 2008. 
  18. ^ Hackney Council Transport Plan

See also

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