West London Orbital rail line could be ready in ‘early 2030’

West London Orbital rail line could be ready in ‘early 2030’

The West London Orbital rail project could be opened in the early 2030s – and would cut some journey times by two thirds.

The service, which would form part of the London Overground, was first proposed by the London Mayor in his 2018 Transport Strategy.

It would run from Hounslow through to Acton, Old Oak Common and Neasden, with branches stretching both to West Hampstead and to Hendon.

Now, Mr Khan has confirmed that engineering consultants are in the process of being selected to work on a detailed design for the scheme.

The Mayor was asked about the project’s progress in a written question by Labour London Assembly Member Elly Baker.

Mr Khan replied: “Following agreement of the feasibility funding last year, several studies, funded primarily by the west London boroughs, are underway or planned.

“Timetable assessment undertaken by Network Rail is nearing completion and has identified that a viable West London Orbital service is expected to be achievable.”

If created, the link would utilise a route known as the Dudding Hill line, which currently runs no scheduled passenger services.

In addition to looking at the engineering design, Mr Khan said “consultant teams to support transport modelling and economics/revenue assessment is also ongoing”.

The Mayor hopes that a fresh business case for the scheme can be created over the course of the coming year, to help the project attract the required funding.

The business case will be produced alongside a confirmatory list of which stations would be served by the new rail link, as well as how frequently services would run.

Having a stop at Old Oak Common – as proposed – would enable an interchange with the HS2 rail link to Birmingham and the North.

An official map of the scheme shows the line starting in Hounslow before following the route of South Western Railway through Isleworth, Syon Lane and Brentford.

It then proposes the potential creation of a new station at Lionel Road, with services also suggested to run from the nearby Kew Bridge on a short separate branch.

The route would then link up with the existing Overground network at South Acton, travelling northwards to Acton Central and on to the HS2 link at Old Oak Common.

From there, it would stop at Harlesden and Neasden, before splitting in separate directions – with one branch to Hendon via Brent Cross, and the other to West Hampstead via Cricklewood.

The complete route would take just 37 minutes according to official estimates – drastically cutting journey times for passengers going from Hounslow up to Hendon, as it removes the need to travel into central London and back out, which takes around 90 minutes.

A 2022 Transport for London document, which prompted Ms Baker’s question about the scheme, mentions that the project could help support the creation of 15,800 new homes on its route.

According to the TfL website, services could start at some point in the early 2030s, if all the required funding is received.

In parallel with the preparation of the business case, Mr Khan said “work will also continue in parallel on funding and finance options for the further development and delivery of the scheme”.


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