London SE1 website team

Lib Dems suggest Waterloo monorail as Northern line alternative

Liberal Democrats in Lambeth have suggested a Docklands-style light rail or monorail link between Waterloo, Vauxhall and Battersea as an alternative to the proposed Northern line extension.

Lib Dems in Lambeth are opposing the plans for a short extension to the Northern line from Kennington to Battersea Power Station. There is controversy both over the financing of the scheme and the effect that new ventilation shafts will have on the Kennington area.

Last month chancellor George Osborne announced a Government loan guarantee of up to 1 billion to support the link, intended to be part-funded by new developments in the Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea regeneration area.

Local campaigners also question the transport benefits of adding an extra branch to an already complicated and overcrowded rail route like the Northern line.

"The only way to relieve the existing crush let alone cope with the massive influx of fresh commuters being generated by the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea new town is by a completely separate system," say the Lambeth Liberal Democrats in an unsigned comment piece published on the party website.

"We've suggested it before and we'll say it again, there needs to be a thorough appraisal of a light rail elevated transport system like the Docklands Light Railway.

"Common sense suggests that this would be massively cheaper than a deep-bored tube line and it could even be a 21st-century monorail system rather than the slightly Trumpton-esque DLR.

"It could also run all the way to Waterloo – maybe attached to the existing railway viaduct – and later linked to the DLR. After all there's massive regeneration going on south of the river all the way from Wandsworth to Southwark.

"There's not much time left to make TfL and the Mayor rethink the idea and put their NLE (Now Ludicrously Expensive) transport ideas back in the box but if Lambeth residents told the politicians bluntly that they were not prepared to pay for such heavily gilded underground train sets they might just come up with some cheaper and more flexible alternatives."

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