Monday 10 October 2011

Swanlink - Crossrail for SW London

This is the third blog in a series of three on Crossrail, the major new rail tunnel running under London. The first and second entries were written to set the scene for this entry, which focuses on solving the major problem of Crossrail - two eastern branches - with the Swanlink proposal.

Low frequency branches

The big problem with Crossrail is not that there are two eastern branches, but that the dividing point of those branches is so close to central London. This means that of the 24tph serving the central section from Paddington to Whitechapel, only half can continue to Stratford and half to Canary Wharf. However, there is clearly demand at both Stratford and Canary Wharf for all 24tph to go there.

The official response to this appears to be threefold. Firstly, that the capacity of each train is large, secondly that the trains can be lengthened by 2 carriages, and thirdly to design the signalling for future running of 30tph. The first and second points are fine, but miss the fact that trains of similar size already run via Stratford and are already full when running at a higher frequency. The third point would still only provide 15tph down each branch, but more importantly removes resilience from the network meaning worse recovery from incidents.

So, I've looked at what is needed to fix the problem, making the Crossrail investment dramatically more effective to the whole of London.

Proposal: Swanlink

This proposal is designed to solve multiple problems with London's rail network in a single hit. As such, it should have a good rate of return.

Clearly, the only way to solve the eastern branch problem is to run a full 24tph service on each branch, to at least Stratford and Canary Wharf. Simple logic therefore requires some new tunnelling from the Stepney Green junction to provide the necessary tracks. But the question is where should they go?

At this point, I switch to the recent London & South East RUS, which identifies capacity shortfalls in the railways around London:

With respect to longer distance services the RUS therefore notes that a significant peak capacity gap may arise, with a forecast shortfall in capacity for some 7,000 passengers in the busiest peak hour; this figure includes capacity required on today’s already overcrowded trains, along with the 3,500 resulting from future growth.....

An alternative way to increase capacity on the route would be to increase the number of tracks from the Surbiton area to central London from four to six, but this is only realistically achievable by means of tunnelling over a long distance. Such a tunnel would need to fit into a cross-industry strategy for future underground lines in the capital in general. The RUS has therefore worked closely with Transport for London to identify a variant of the currently safeguarded Crossrail line 2 route, and this forms Option F7 in this RUS.

Clearly, the SWML (South West Main Line) has serious capacity issues and Crossrail 2 is being mentioned as a solution. But looking at the problems with Crossrail 1 as I have done above, its clear that the SWML can be relieved at a lower cost by reusing part of Crossrail 1 being built now.

The Swanlink proposal connects the SWML to the Stratford branch of Crossrail.

The principle is to acknowledge that Crossrail 1 is actually "one and a half crossrails". By building the aditional "half a crossrail" linking to the SWML, it is converted to 2 independent Crossrail lines each with 24tph - one from west of Paddington to Canary Wharf and Abbey Wood ("Wharflink"), and one from the SWML to Stratford and Shenfield ("Swanlink" - South West ANglia).

Swanlink detail

The junction at Stepney Green is to the east of Whitechapel so thats where the proposal must start. The first point to note is that there will need to be an interchange between Wharflink and Swanlink. The second point to note is that many commuters will want to travel from Stratford to Canary Wharf, changing at Whitechapel (it will be faster than changing to the Jubilee line at Stratford). As such, an interchange at Whitechapel makes sense. This should be designed so that passengers can easily travel from Stratford to Canary Wharf and vice versa. This requires a same-level interchange between passengers travelling west on Swanlink and east on Wharflink, and vice versa. The best design for this station is to place the two new platforms directly beneath the platforms being built now, reusing all of the surface access facilities.

The next point to note is that most travellers from the Shenfield/Stratford route currently travel to Liverpool Street. As such, removing their ability to travel to the Liverpool Street area is unacceptable. Thus the Swanlink route needs to run to Liverpool Street. Two more underground platforms will be needed, again directly underneath those being built now reusing the surface facilities. This time, the same-level interchange must be between passengers travelling east on Wharflink to east on Swanlink, and vice versa.

The combination of these two interchanges allows a passenger to change to the other line in any direction without needing to use any stairs, escalators or lifts. This saves time for commuters, building the business case.

After Moorgate, the proposed route takes a sharp turn under Guildhall to a station underneath Queen Street north of Southwark Bridge ("Queen Street" station). This would serve the western side of the city including Cheapside, Queen Victoria Street and Mansion House. Options exist to link this station to Mansion House, Bank and Cannon Street tube stations, but modelling would be needed to determine which if any makes sense. As this section is mostly under streets it should avoid foundations.

After Queen Street, the line would turn under the Thames to reach a new station under, or just to the east of, Blackfriars Road ("Bankside" station). This station would be linked with Blackfraiars Thameslink station (at the new Bankside entrance) thus provding another key link as at Farringdon. Land is currently available south of Southwark Street to assist building work here. This station may be able to link to Southwark tube station, but this may be of limited value. From there, the line would turn towards Waterloo.

The key to the affordability of the proposal is at Waterloo. South of the station there is a taxi road at the same level as the station itself. I propose replacing this with a new through platform. My analysis suggests that the limitation of 1 in 30 for gradient means that the line would need to go under Waterloo Road, not over it, so the new platforms would be at ground level. The tunnel portal would be on the site of the Cornwall Road bus garage requiring limited demolition of 2 or 3 non-listed commercial buildings. From there it routes to the "Bankside" station described above. West of Waterloo, a new bridge over the A23 would be needed to clear the Waterloo station throat and link to the existing SWML Wimbledon slow lines, again taking 3 to 5 non-listed buildings.

The advantage of this route is that the line requires an absolute bare minimum of tunnelling, probably with just one TBM drive for each running tunnel. The platforms at Waterloo would be above ground aiding access and construction. And the route serves two stations providing good access to Bankside (where large developments are proposed) and the western City area. The problems lie with the steepness of the grdients and navigating through the maze of underground tunnels, notably at Southwark tube station.

If the City route is not possible, then there is an alternate alignment, with a single station lying between St.Pauls and Blackfriars (see map). If it is not possible to build the Waterloo surface station, then a longer tunnel would be needed with a portal potentially as far out as Clapham Junction.


Swanlink dramatically takes the benefits of Crossrail to a whole new level. Pasengers from the entire South West corner of London would be linked in with big journey time savings.

Services would run from the existing Wimbledon slow lines (including Guildford, Epsom, Hampton Court, Chessington & Shepperton) through to Shenfield. It is intended that some Woking semi-fast services would move to Swanlink, freeing up the SWML fast lines as needed by the RUS mentioned above. (The Woking semi-fasts would stop more often than now, but they would gain time not having to wait for a platform at Waterloo, and in journey times beyond Waterloo.)

By itself, linking Wimbledon to Stratford is of limited value to commuters (although it would boost travel to Westfield Stratford City). The bigger benefit is for SWML commuters to reach the City and Canary Wharf directly. City commuters currently change at Waterloo to the Waterloo & City line, the 521 bus or a bike. They would now be able to travel directly to the City without changing, perhaps saving 20 minutes or more in each direction at peak time. Commuters to Canary Wharf from the SWML currently take the Jubilee line, whereas with Swanlink they would simply change at Liverpool Street (on the same-level) to access the 24tph Wharflink service, again with a big saving of time and hassle. Its important to note that the journey from Waterloo to the north and east sides of the City are very difficult today, so there is a big benefit there too. Finally, Stratford/Shenfield line passengers get much better access to the South Bank.

Estimated journey times
Journey*Now (off-peak, TfL website)With SwanlinkSaving
Wimbledon to Liverpool Street392217
Wimbledon to Stratford503020
Wimbledon to Canary Wharf39318
Wimbledon to Hackney573522
Wimbledon to Hoxton513219
Wimbledon to Woolwich513813
* Note that Wimbledon is used as the base location, but journey time savings apply over the entire suburban route network via Wimbledon.

Clearly these new links would greatly relieve the Waterloo & City line and the Jubilee line. Given the queue for the Waterloo & City (and crush conditions), this is a very good thing.

Finally, the plan permits 24tph between the City and both Stratford and Canary Wharf, a key design goal itself, reducing the inevitable overcrowding that will occur when Crossrail opens. Beyond those two stations there is no need for 24tph. Therefore, investment could be made to add new branches - to Barking, Upminster, Brimsdown or Chingford beyond Stratford, and to Dagenham/Grays or Thamesmead/Grays beyond Canary Wharf. These would be independent investments and are not included in the Swanlink case presented here.


The cost of Swanlink can be roughly estimated by comparison to Crossrail. That project has a budget of about £15bn. Swanlink is probably between a quarter and a third the size of Crossrail. It would have less initial setup costs (as it would follow on from Crossrail's up front investment), and also re-uses facilities at Liverpool Street and Whitechapel. The relatively short tunnel and surface station at Waterloo help keep costs down. An initial estimate suggests a figure around £4bn.

The quantifiable benefits arise mainly from journey time reduction, which would be considerable given current change to the crowded Waterloo & City line, 521 bus or Jubilee line. Further benefits accrue from the Wider Economic Benefits regime (Moving to more productive jobs, agglomeration effects, etc). Serving the Nine Elms regeneration area is clearly a huge boost.

Direct revenue can also be raised. The proposal also serves some London boroughs currently paying the lower levels of the Mayor's Crossrail Levy - increasing this to the higher level would also directly raise cash.

Swanlink also reduces the pressure on the SWML outlined in the London & South East RUS which advocated building Crossrail 2. Since Crossrail 2 (Clapham - Hackney) would be a £15bn+ project, and Swanlink is a £4bn project, so there is clearly a saving to be priced into the business case. Potentially, that £11bn difference is enough to justify Swanlink by itself. In addition, 5 terminus platforms at Waterloo are freed up, which can be used by other services, reducing the need to invest in bringing the Eurostar platforms back into use for SWML services, another saving that can be factored in.

Overall, I'm confident that the CBR for Swanlink would be good.


Swanlink is a logical extension to the current Crossrail scheme that suffers from having two eastern branches which divide too close to the City. By linking Stratford eastern branch and the RUS identified gap on the SWML a coherent transport solution is obtained. By reusing the Stratford tunnel and portal large cost savings are obtained, ideal in the age of austerity. The benefits to South West London are huge, with the Stratford/Shenfield and Canary Wharf/Abbey Wood lines also benefiting from more frequent services.

I hope that readers use their imagination and see how this investment makes sense and could really make Crossrail shine! There really is no cheaper way to get a second Crossrail line in London.

If you back the proposal, or have any other opinions, why not leave a comment!


  1. This all sounds terrific - however, I'm INCREDIBLY sceptical that £4bn is even close to how much this would cost.

    Is there space for a portal in the approach to Waterloo? Where would you put it?

    Also, you're not just getting from St Pauls to Waterloo, you're basically having to tunnel from Waterloo to past Whitechapel with the central portion being 4 tracked and with those tracks being merged to give cross-platform interchange.

    Also, would the tracks from Stratford to Shenfield be capable of dealing with 24 trains per hour? Remember that once you get past Stratford, the infrastructure is not going to be massively different to how it is now, and I would be surprised if they would cope without upgrades to signalling (etc) which would add more cost.

    And even if it did cost "only" another £4bn, it would still be £4bn too much at the moment - any small saving is being made (eg, moving back the date of delivery by 12 months) so I doubt anyone would be looking to dramatically increase scope. Are any future branches from the core 'protected'? Or are just extensions protected?

    Aside from the obvious problems with adding in a new branch like this, there are obvious merits to the idea, such as removing the need to merge two lines onto the same central core which is likely to lead to problems in the future.

  2. As I said in the blog, ideally the portal would be just east of Waterloo, using the Cornwall Road bus garage, with the Waterloo station platforms at ground level. If this isn't feasible, the next logical site is probably on railway land at Clapham Junction. And yes, the two new running tunnels would be from Stepney Green to Waterloo, which is about the same as the longest tunnels being driven for Crossrail 1. The Crossrail 1 design already provides a cross-platform interchange, so all that is needed is two more platforms to the same design vertically below.

    Beyond Stratford, the line currently deals with about 18tph in the peak. There might need to be a turnback location east of Stratford, although I would look at the Woodgrange Park/Barking branch as being simple, desirable and low cost.

    Crossrail 1 has central London station costs at about £300m, and total tunnelling costs of about £1500m. Thus, I get an estimate of £2bn for stations and tunnels, plus £2bn for fit-out and other costs. Its cheaper if done as a follow-on to Crossrail (with enabling works now). BTW, Paddington station came in 40% under budget, so there may be some "spare" money.

    Also, if the choice is between a £15bn Crossrail 2 and £4bn Swanlink, which would you choose? (yes, I'd like both, but.....)

    Crossrail 1 does have protected extensions to Reading in the west and Gravesend in the east. I've seen no evidence of core extensions being protected or planned for other than Crossrail 2.

    Thanks for commenting!

  3. Not sure I understand your propsoed arrangments at Waterloo - in your comment above you say the platforms are to be at ground level, but in he original article you say they are to be at the same level as the existing main line station, which is well above ground level.
    Is the line to cross above or below Waterloo Road? Either way, you will need a very steep incline at some point.

    By the way, the 521 is not the only, or even the quickest, bus route from Waterloo to the City. Routes 4, 26, 76, 172 and 341 also connect them (and all have horrendous queues!) Unfortunately, they all take the circuitous route via Waterloo Bridge and Fleet Street - the 76 used to take a more direct route via Blackfriars Bridge, but has not done so for several decades.

  4. I've clarified the blog (and walked the area this morning taking photos). The aim is to rapidly descend after the A23 (height 5m), have platforms at ground level, and then go under Waterloo Road (possibly with the road slightly raised, with an option to use some of the land from the low-rise demolished buildings on the east side of Waterloo Road). I know the gradients are tight but I think it is just possible. Once beyond Waterloo Road, gradients are less of an issue.

    Agreed on the other buses, queues and routing via Waterloo bridge. Thanks for the comment

  5. I agree with your analysis of the problem, and agree that quading the cross-rail core is a good solution, but split so far east will force one of two things: large numbers using the northern/bakerloo to access the west end (overcrowding) or people doubling back at the first point of convergence.

    If the SW route left further west, it would allow the core principle of crossrail (get people within walking distance so they don't use the tube) to be more effectively realised.

  6. @Jamesup, I considered a variety of routes, but this seemed clearly the best to me. Onward transport from Waterloo to the City is a major problem. SW London to the West End is always going to be better served by a line starting from Clapham Junction, but that is a lot longer and a lot more expensive. Swanlink is a line for austerity. (BTW, passengers from SW London already change onto the Victoria/Bakerloo/Northern so this scheme doesn't make that crowding worse)

    Agreed on the principle of getting people to destinations without using the tube, but lets not try to make every new line solve every problem! Doing that is why infrastructure projects take so long... Thanks for the comment.

  7. Hi Stephen,

    Just a few general observations from a Surbiton (outer London) resident. I think this scheme sounds great, and is much more attractive than the current Crossrail 2 (option 2) suggestion.

    I'm acutely aware of the forthcoming capacity gap on the SWML. Pricing people off the trains at peak times, as suggested in the RUS, simply won't work because the vast majority of commuters will have to be at their offices at a set time.

    I don't know if you were aware of it at the time of your proposal, but TfL recently produced a Central London Rail Termini Report (Sep 2011). It is accessible at

    The report shows that Surbiton and Wimbledon are in the top 5 stations delivering commuters to any mainline terminals in Central London, and that Waterloo itself is the busiest station.

    Outer South West London (Kingston/Surbiton) has no other means of accessing central London. If the trains are full before they arrive here, the consequences are dire. A notional 1 hour rush hour commute by train & tube to the city would probably take well over 2 hours by bus.

    Doing nothing, or prevaricating as per CR1 is clearly not an option. The second CR2 proposal , joining the SWML to the WAML is designed as a solution. Yes, it adds capacity, but not to where it's needed, ie where existing SWML users commute to at peak times.

    On page 136 of TfL's Central London Rail Termini Report, a distribution map clearly illustrates that most SWML users commute to the City and Holborn - hence the appalling queues for the buses and WCL. A fair proportion also go on to Canary Wharf. In contrast, very few go to Chelsea, Tottenham Court Road or Euston, ie where CR2 is proposed to go to.

    What's the point of supposedly providing relief to SWML if most SWML users will continue on to Waterloo, and continue to endure pathetic onward links to their true destinations.

    Swanlink in contrast would deliver new capacity, and within walking distance of where peak commuters actually want to go to. It seems a much more sensible solution to the forthcoming capacity crunch that South West London is now threatened by.

  8. Paul, thanks for the comment and the link to an interesting report. There is probably a role for both CR2 and Swanlink, but I'd choose Swanlink first (with HS2 the problem child pushing for CR2).

  9. Hello Paul, thanks for flagging this report, very interesting. You say that p136 refers to Canary Wharf being a significant onward destination for Waterloo commuters. I cannot find that in the report. The only termini I can find that have a significant Canary Wharf flow are London Bridge and, surprisingly, Marylebone.

    I would be very interested to see any stats showing where Canary Wharf / Docklands commuters come from. Has TfL done a survey?

    cheers :)

  10. Anecdotal evidence... The member of staff I spoke to at Waterloo by the W&C line entrance said that the queue to get onto the platform was normally 5 minutes, but when the Jubilee was down it became 15+ minutes. Make of that what you can!

  11. Lemmo,

    Figure 20.1 Onward modes of AM peak National Rail arrivals at Waterloo station by final trip destination

    The distribution map, with little pie charts, 1 per grid square.

    Page 132 on my pdf reader, not 136 as I stated earlier. Woops.

  12. Would tunnelling from Waterloo to Moorgate with interchanges at Blackfriars and St.Pauls provide much of the same advantages at a much lower cost? North of Moorgate you could take over the North city line and extend it into the Northern Heights to High Gate to take passengers off the Northern Line and provide much need extra capacity in that part of town as well.

    1. The Northern City and re-using the Stratford portal are roughly equal in financial respects IMO. The Northern City isn't a simple solution, because the platforms aren't long enough to match the Waterloo line trains (soon to be 10 car), and because of Moorgate. As such, you'd need to close the Northern City and "knock it about" (like the East London Line). That routing also fails to link Waterloo and Liverpool Street termini (a major gap for longer distance non-commuting UK rail travel), although Moorgate is actually walkable to Liverpool Street (but non Londoners don't know that...).

      I do agree that the Finsbury Park area needs new capacity as well though. In fact, if this scheme were progressed, it would be worth considering whether an alternative tunnelling strategy could be used - a single bore from Waterloo to Moorgate divided into four parts by concrete (for fire regs), allowing 2 tracks Waterloo to Northern City and 2 tracks Waterloo to Stratford!

  13. Once Cross Rail is built Moorgate and Liverpool St become one linked station on the underground map in the same way that Bank and Monument are. So going their instead of Liverpool St. isn't a major issue.

    Moorgate would need to be rebuilt to move the NC platforms west and down next to the Northern Line. However, whilst this work is on going NC trains could still run to Old St. which is only a short walk away.

    Agree that platform lengths are an issue on the NC, however, I think this could be countered by turning half the lines down through Putney over to a dedicated metro service. My thinking was that it would surface somewhere between Waterloo and Queens town rd and then take over two of the four lines down towards Barnes.

    Some services could split off and turn back from East Putney. From Barnes it could take over one of the two branches to Witton Junction. From there, their is space to four track the line to a new terminal platforms at a rebuilt Feltam station and the old Feltham goods yard could be turned in to a tran depot.

    I think the Richmond branch is the one to go for, due to freight use of the Hounslow branch. May also be posible to then merge in the District line trains in at Richmond and also extend these down to Feltham to preserve the connection to the Reading and Windsor services which would now all run via Hounslow as 10 car trains. Where as the Richmond service would become high frequency 7 car metro service.

    At the other end from Finsbury Park reestablish the line to High Gate where it would split to run to Muswell Hill and East Finchley. From there, their should be space to four track to Finchley Central and then split off to Mill Hill East, where their is space to build a new depot for this end of the line. Long term build north from here and create a new suburb of affordable homes.

    I'd call the line the Feltham and High Gate railway, or Felgate Line for short.

    Meanwhile the spare west side capacity on Cross Rail would be much better used by diverting the WCML slow lines at Old Oak Common. This means the full length of the Cross Rail tunnel gets fully used and frees up space at Euston for HS2.

  14. What impact does the rumoured - whispered in someones ear level - Crossrail 3 have, Euston to Waterloo?

    I like your proposal solving the very very old problem of Waterloo to the city. I don't like Crossrail 2 as anything bigger than a tube line. Crossrail 2 would be a great tube line, as heavyrail stopping mid-distance commuters in Tooting or Alexandra Palace it seems nuts.

    1. I assume CR3 is intended to be for SE London, not SW London. In all cases, the key is to look for possible tunnel portal sites. For SE London, the earliest is probably the Bermondsey/Deptford area, making that another big project.

      I don't believe any more tube size tunnels make sense (look at a 6ft9 person on a tube train, as average heights get taller, plus tube tunnels are not much cheaper now). Once you are at full size trains, it might as well connect to an existing surface route. So, I'd make CR2 have a portal at Clapham Junction and take over the Victoria slows on the Crystal Palace and Selhurst routes. Cheap, as it has a minimal central tunnel. That said, taking it via Clapham Common to Streatham might be an option, to help with the Northern line crowding.

      In an ideal world, we'd have tube-like for zones 1-4 and mainline-like for zones 4+, but the separation required to achieve this is beyond us at this point, so everything is a compromise. I don't see Tooting on CR2 happening myself.

  15. Hi Stephen, your Swanlink proposal seems so sensibly brilliant that I wonder if there are any hints that transport planners are taking it seriously? There was recently a report on CR2 routes that didn't seem to acknowledge your ideas at all. I personally don't travel to Stansted anymore (from Basingstoke), but the viability of that airport would be significantly increased if getting between Waterloo and Liverpool Street were made a lot simpler than it currently is.

    The London & SE RUS suggested a tunnel or extra line from Surbiton inwards. Does your proposal (which makes much better use of the existing slow lines from Wimbledon) also effectively increase capacity from Surbiton?

    1. The plan as written would take some current fasts from Surbiton and put them on the slow lines, justified by the savings of time at Waterloo. However two more tracks from Surbiton would be the ideal solution,but they could be tunnels to Clapham Junction with no stations to reduce costs.

      The biggest problem Swanlink has is that the Victoria line is in such need of relief. Hence the CR2 talk.

  16. Network Rail currently seem to be working on their fifth track proposal from Surbiton together with platform extension at Waterloo made possible by widening the approach bridge over Westminster Bridge Road. Add in the works to allow use of the International platforms and I get the feeling that the plan for Waterloo's capacity problems consists of several modest improvements (modest when compared with new tunnels) added on one by one. The recent government electrification proposals plus a western approach to Heathrow all look to be favouring the throw-away line in the London & SE RUS where Paddington or Crossrail trains could run to Basingstoke, so providing relief to the SW mainline, at least for a few more years. That would allow CR2 to do the basic job of relieving the Victoria Line and not have to pick up Waterloo bound traffic too. While none of this physically prevents Swanlink from being built, I suspect that its value as a Waterloo reliever won't be seen to be attractive.

    1. Agreed on the analysis. Which is why now is the right time to be talking about whether a bigger solution is more effective. I really struggle with the idea that 5 tracks is terribly helpful. Perhaps the rail operators feel it gives them enough, but clearly Waterloo is not a multi storey car park for trains, so ultimately trains that arrive need to leave.

      I'm also surprised that we've not seen any evidence of a comparison with a no-station tunnel from Surbiton to east of Clapham Junction. I suspect that the cost would be similar to the fifth track, but the result would be an order of magnitude more effective.

    2. The fifth track just doesn't make sense - the crowding created at Waterloo will negate any benefit to passengers of extra and longer trains. Where we differ is the best way to relieve the congestion in the medium term. However, if we make the assumption that Crossrail 2 will be built first for a moment, how would you amend your proposal to allow Swanlink to be added as a Crossrail 1 reliever at a later date? Would it then be any cheaper (in today's money) as some of the infrastructure would already be built?

    3. @Ian, Crossrail 2's core route and Swanlink are complementary. However, CR2's desire to start tunnelling as far south as Raynes Park or beyond is more troublesome (as it makes it very expensive and sucks money away). The full "right" answer in my book would be a no-stations tunnel for the fast trains from Surbiton to Clapham Junction, and then starting CR2 at Clapham Junction. None of which affects Swanlink at all, but is more affordable.

      In other words, there is no need to amend Swanlink if CR2 is built first, and Swanlink remains relatively cheap due to reuse of the Eastern tunnel portal and short central tunnel.

    4. Stephen

      Where's the idea gone since 15 Oct 2012?

      Of course, there's been the XR2 study published by London First.

      XR3 was simply Euston - Kingsway - Aldwych - Waterloo with connections at each end. No details were published when the then Mayor made his remarks.

      I've suggested that WJ - Euston be changed to Bakerloo working throughout (ie replacing LO) and those trains be diverted under Eversholt St to an Underground Euston (Kingsway Line) platform, thence under Southampton Row, picking up the Aldwych Branch and extending to Waterloo, either reconnecting with the Bakerloo and/or W&C.

      There's also a XR3a if you will, which simply extends the Aldwych branch to the W&C station, allows W&C trains to be serviced at a depot accessible to the Piccadilly Line, and this releases the present depot for longer platforms. The idea is that the W&C can move to 5-car trains and have the extra train needed. AIUI, some fine tuning at Bank would be involved.

      ALL new tunnels would incorporate escape walkways. Re-used tunnels remain as is. Aldwych platforms lengthened to the south and escalator connections to Kings College and Temple Circle/District station. Lifts replaced with modern, safe to maintain units. I have more detail re: Kingsway but that's already on District Dave's

      These ideas might be of interest to you.

      They may have an improved reception in the corridors of power as means to maintain train services while HS2 is accommodated at Euston will be sought.

      DW down under

    5. Bear in mind that I'm trying to create schemes that are viable from a cost, practicality and engineering basis, given the available public knowledge. There are a lot of possible lines that can be drawn on a map, but without actually visiting sites and understanding the pressures and limitations its easy to get sucked in to suggestions that can't go anywhere.

      Right now, the Euston slow route is looking like it might receive investment to run into Crossrail 1. That seems reasonable to me, so its not an issue that I see as needing tackling. By contrast, the Waterloo & City is far overcrowded, and so will be Crossrail 1 on opening (due to the Eastern branch problem). Swanlink is a simple, cheap way to solve both, and complementary to Crossrail 2.

      BTW, major changes to the W&C or Aldwych branch simply aren't going to happen. There is not enough benefit to justify the cost, especially when compared to a line built from scratch (two simple new TBM tunnels rather than scrapping around trying to make old tunnels join up). In general, its better to leave the existing unused/underused infrastructure alone and build new. The exception is the GN&C, which remains a possible alternate eastern end to Swanlink, however achieving that would require closing the GN&C for 12-36 months to effectively rebuild the platforms from scratch, so its far from a cheap or easy option.