Dartford MP, Gareth Johnson, last week called on the Government to finish the job of Crossrail and link Crossrail’s last station of Abbey Wood to HS1 in Ebbsfleet.
During a debate he secured in the House of Commons Chamber on Thursday, Mr Johnson said the Government should prioritise the extension of the Crossrail line—now known as the Elizabeth line out of respect to Her Majesty—to Ebbsfleet.
He said: “The route through Dartford in to Ebbsfleet was the original plan for Crossrail, so in effect I am asking for the job to be finished, and for the line to be completed in accordance with the original plan.
Crossrail is a marvellous piece of engineering that stretches from Heathrow to Abbey Wood, and connects London from west to east and vice versa. Ebbsfleet plays host to another wonderful technological achievement in High Speed 1, which connects London to Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam in a short period of time. It is the fastest rail service in the UK, and it is key to us pursuing the Government’s aim of a deep and special relationship with the European Union after Brexit.
It is therefore absurd that those two great engineering achievements are separated by 10 miles—a gap that could be closed if we were to connect the two lines as previously envisaged.”
He said there is huge potential for economic growth east of London but the lack of connectivity holds back existing opportunities. There is also a clear demand for more capacity on rail services in north Kent, with number of people using Dartford station has rising by a third in the last 10 years, and the numbers using Ebbsfleet doubling since High Speed 1 has been operational.
If built, it would also link Heathrow to Kent.
Mr Johnson added: “I am reluctant to refer to this proposal as an extension because this is more about finishing the job that was started and completing the original plans for Crossrail. This debate is about completing the job. It is nothing short of ludicrous for the two greatest technological achievements in rail infrastructure, Crossrail and HS1, to not connect with each other. There is a gap here: 10 miles of missed opportunities; 10 miles that could lead to the transformation of the area and boost the economy in a way that would far outweigh any implementation costs.
In my mind, the Crossrail project will be incomplete until the section from Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet is built.”