Bankrupt council wants huge Elizabeth line extension through Essex and Kent

The Elizabeth Line extension is part of major regeneration proposals  (PA Wire)
The Elizabeth Line extension is part of major regeneration proposals (PA Wire)

Bankrupt Thurrock Council is proposing a 27 to 30 mile Elizabeth Line extension, creating a large loop through Essex and Kent, as part of its major regeneration plans.

The Draft Thurrock Local Transport Plan sets out a possible vision for public transport in the borough which includes an extension to the Elizabeth Line.

The proposal, released ahead of a planning, transport and regeneration committee meeting on February 28, lays out a major expansion of the rail network which would have a huge impact on East and South London.

It would see the current Elizabeth line service from Romford take over the Overground branch to Emerson Park and Upminster, then join c2c services continuing via Chafford Hundred Lakeside to Tilbury.

The route would then head under a new tunnel beneath the Thames to Gravesend, Ebbsfleet International/Northfleet, before following Thameslink services through Bluewater, Dartford, Slade Green, Erith and Belvedere to the current Elizabeth line terminus at Abbey Wood.

The huge extended loop would amount to around 27 to 30 miles, according to MyLondon.

The council said the development would support new homes and jobs, improve public transport accessibility and “realise the borough’s full potential as an important economic hub at the heart of the Thames Estuary”.

The proposal stated: “Thurrock’s transport network supports high levels of mobility in some areas with high-quality public transport connections, private and commercial vehicle road networks, and walking and cycling routes.

“However, in sharp contrast, there are limited public transport links across the river, to rural areas and to the north of the Borough. The Road Network is congested and often disrupted.

“Connections to London by all modes are essential for Thurrock residents. Bus and ferry services are essential for more local journeys.”

Around 75 percent of work related journeys to, from and within Thurrock are made by private car. Rail makes up around a quarter of employment journeys from Thurrock.

“Thurrock’s rail connections are generally east-west, serving demand to/from London. There are no direct rail connections across the river to the north or south, limiting access to employment opportunities,” the document said.

Any changes would require the support of City Hall, Transport for London (TfL) and the government.

Also in the plan is a new bus rapid transit system which would run from Dagenham Dock station in East London, through Havering to Thurrock.

Public engagement is expected over spring or summer this year.

Conservative-run Thurrock Council has a debt of £1.5 billion, MyLondon reports, and has asked the Treasury for a loan of £182.5 million to help it through this financial year.

It was the fourth council to issue a section 114 “bankruptcy” notice in recent years, after Northamptonshire county council, Croydon, and Slough.