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bringing important railway connections together

 Thameslink 2 Project

May 2016 at London’s Canary Wharf and representatives from BML2 present their Thameslink 2 Project which will advance the future of the new ‘Centre of the Capital’.

Recognition of the widespread strategic importance and massive potential with BML2’s London Phase has been expressed in ‘MyLondon’.

Launched 12 years ago, BML2 was devised to answer numerous problems south of the Thames on the increasingly overcrowded and congested Brighton and Tonbridge main lines feeding into the capital. Separated into three phases – Sussex, Kent and London – the initial proposal for the latter was to reinstate services on the redundant railway from Selsdon near South Croydon, through to Lewisham, closed in the 1980s/90s under British Rail.

Although part of the route is now occupied by Croydon Tramlink, BML2’s outline plans showed how the tramway could be realistically relocated with even greater benefit while enabling main line services to operate and thus avoid the East Croydon bottleneck. This was much in the same way as the ‘Quarry Line’ allows fast services to speed past Redhill – a Victorian bottleneck on the Brighton Line.

In 2010, a presentation on BML2 was given to Network Rail at Waterloo, whilst a further presentation occurred at Croydon for Southern and Go-Ahead, followed by London councils such as Lewisham. Realising the potential of Canary Wharf just across the Thames, ‘Thameslink 2’ quickly became the new name for BML2’s London Phase, whereby serious interest really gathered pace. The idea was quite revolutionary and gained further attention, especially as it was not too dissimilar to Network Rail’s concept, several years earlier, for what they termed their ‘ultimate capacity generator’. This aspiration envisaged a wholly-tunnelled railway from Stoat’s Nest Junction (Coulsdon) running beneath Croydon and continuing some thirteen miles to an unspecified London terminus. As BML2’s promoters pointed out, a terminus was a bad idea – infinitely better to cross under the Eastern Thames via Canary Wharf to where London was rapidly expanding. As for the revival of the moribund Selsdon line, well, if there exists the funding to instead tunnel all the way, then so be it.

‘Thameslink 2’ really took off and was further refined as we then proposed the introduction of ‘Stanwick’ – an admittedly ghastly name – but it ‘said what it did on the tin’ and came about during a period when everyone was talking about ‘Heathwick’. If joining London’s major airports was important, then ‘Thameslink 2’ was streets ahead by offering Gatwick and Stansted to be connected by a dedicated service operating through the ‘new’ centre of the capital of Canary Wharf and Stratford.

With the Chinese having extensive pecuniary investment in developing Docklands, the China Railway Engineering Corporation became distinctly interested. BML2 gave further presentations on ‘Thameslink 2’ and the associated Kent and Sussex Phases with these highly-motivated overseas investors. Meetings also took place involving Canary Wharf, whilst councils such as Brighton & Hove, Lewes, Tunbridge Wells, Croydon, etc, were also briefed.

Despite the crises of the past two years and the continuing war in eastern Europe, we still face huge challenges in regard to the environment – and these haven’t been put ‘on hold’ by Mother Earth just for our convenience. Warnings about serious ecological problems around transport continue as much as ever. These urgently need practicable solutions which will benefit people, whilst enabling the economy to prosper and flourish.

As one of BML2’s keenest proponents and most respected advisors points out:

“Stratford was the busiest station in the UK for 2020/21. The huge Westfield Shopping Centre, London Stadium and Abba Arena are already located there, whilst the 21,500 Madison Square Garden is still to come. Stratford is the new ‘West End’ and Canary Wharf the new ‘City of London’.”

And now, in a newly-published article for MyLondon, based at Canary Wharf, Transport Correspondent Callum Marius rightfully extols the virtues of BML2’s Thameslink 2 and says - 'Forget more London Underground stations, what South London really needs is Thameslink 2 linking Croydon, Lewisham, Canary Wharf and Stratford'.

He’s spot-on of course and Callum’s full article can be read by following the link below.

Good ideas don’t go away.