Mayor Accused of blackmail over Crossrail

GLA rep blasts him for dismissing 'clapped out trains on the District line'


Dates for Crossrail local public information centres

Your chance to see detailed plans and ask questions about the scheme

31 Essex Place
Fri 28 Nov 2�8pm
Sat 29 Nov 10�6pm

East Acton
For venue
details call help desk
0845 602 3813
Sat 22 Nov 10�6pm
Mon 24 Nov 2�8pm

Arcadia Shopping Centre
Tue 2 Dec 2-8pm
Wed 3 Dec 2-8pm

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A row has developed over the possibility of the closure of the Richmond branch of the District Line with the advent of Crossrail.

Local Greater London Assembly rep Tony Arbour, blasted Ken Livingstone for refusing to consider either running both Crossrail and District Line trains on the same track or alternatively extending the existing line to Kingston.

He said �the Mayor�s response to my proposals for improving the rail facilities of the our part of London showed his lack of awareness of the importance of the District Line to local commuters. He said that Crossrail would replace �the clapped out trains on the District Line�. Rolling stock is already Livingstone�s responsibility and he should be planning on improving this now."

He accused the Mayor of blackmail when he said that opposition to the plans would mean that South West London would get neither Crossrail nor improvements.

Crossrail would run 12 trains per hour at peak times to/from Paddington through Turnham Green, Gunnersbury, Kew Gardens to Richmond, compared to the 7 trains per hour at the moment on the Richmond branch of the District Line. Each Crossrail train is almost double the capacity of current District Line trains.

Users of the Richmond branch who currently go to destinations such as Victoria would no longer have a direct route but would have to rejoin the District line at Turnham Green. Crossrail are in negotiations with London Underground to introduce a Piccadilly line service to this station which would give even greater access to Central London and Heathrow for the estimated 30,000 daily users of the Richmond branch.

The Mayor has come out against introducing a Piccadilly line service at Turnham Green but may be persuaded to change his mind as most transport experts are in agreement that it would be illogical not to allow the Piccadilly line to interchange with Crossrail at this point

A Crossrail spokesperson said: "We are about to start the process of consultation along the route from October 27 when people can make their views known. We have suggested an option but people can make their views known if different. Everything said will be taken into account. We have been involved in stakeholder discussions with Richmond Council for the last year on route options which includes the current route via a new station at Turnham Green."

See above for details of local Public Information days on the Crossrail proposals.

If you can't make it to one of these there is a 24 hour seven day a week helpline on 0845 602 3813 and an e-mail address as well as a web site which contains background information about the project.

October 23, 2003