So I wondered what is in store for the commuter to Canary Wharf with under construction and planned upgrades, particularly with plans for the area to expand. Well, a few things, but I believe there is a gap.
- Crossrail will give 12 trains per hour (tph) to Canary Wharf from Paddington in the West and Abbey Wood in the East by 2018.
- Expansion of East London Line from four to five coaches - probably 2013/2014.
- Possible Jubilee Line capacity improvements.
- Paddington to Canary Wharf. Current journey from Hammersmith and City plaftorm, change Baker Street for Jubilee. New journey direct. Current time 28 minutes, new time 16 minutes.
- High Barnet to Canary Wharf. Current journey via Northern Line Bank branch, change at London Bridge for Jubilee. New journey via Northern Line Charing Cross Branch, change at Tottenham Court Road. Current time 57 minutes, new time 52 minutes.
- Abbey Wood to Canary Wharf. Current journey National Rail, change London Bridge for Jubilee Line. New journey direct. Current time 39 minutes, new time 11 minutes.
There is an option here though, which I've not seen explored before. Thameslink and Southern passengers from East Croydon and places to the south to Canary Wharf go to New Cross Gate, then either change for the ELL (if the train stops) or more likely continue to London Bridge to head for the Jubilee. The Southern trains all terminate at London Bridge. It looks possible from satellite pictures to quadruple the line from New Cross Gate as far as Canada Water. From there, it's about 1.5km to Canary Wharf in a tunnel under the Thames parallel to the Jubilee Line. So we could have direct trains from the south terminating at Canary Wharf.
This would be an incredibly expensive option to avoid one change and crowded ELL trains. But it's actually far more than that. The Thameslink Programme only does so much to deal with the capacity issues at London Bridge: drastic (and potentially unpopular) options such as extending the Bakerloo line to Hayes have been mooted largely to regain capacity at London Bridge. East Croydon is full. When schemes such as BML2 (http://www.bml2.co.uk) come along to bypass Croydon and largely use old railway trackded to New Cross, the reason for rejection is that London Bridge is full (as is Liverpool Street, where BML2 itself suggests its terminus might be). Something needs to be done long term about traffic into London Bridge, and this idea gives the added advantage of making Canary Wharf a new London Terminus.