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Birmingham high speed rail line should come to Waterloo, says Ken Livingstone

London SE1 website team

Ken Livingstone, Labour candidate for Mayor of London, has called on the Government to consider extending the proposed Birmingham to London High Speed 2 rail link from Euston to Waterloo to provide new cross-city journey opportunities.

Ken Livingstone
Ken Livingstone on the campaign trail in SE1 in 2008

Speaking on his LBC 97.3 show on Saturday morning, Mr Livingstone voiced concerns that Euston will be unable to cope with the extra passengers generated by HS2.

"You look at the map and you think that the obvious thing to do is – as [HS2] comes into Euston, it also goes underground for two and a quarter miles and comes up at Waterloo," said the former Mayor.

"So instead of the congestion of all the trains coming in and out of Euston, you'd have 25 trains an hour coming from the south east of England, through London and straight on out to the north.

"The extra expense of that two and a quarter mile tunnel would massively change the cost-benefit analysis."

He said that such a proposal would provide an overall increase in capacity equivalent to Crossrail.

Former Conservative mayoral candidate Steve Norris – who is a Transport for London board member – welcomed Mr Livingstone's suggestion.

"I have to say that I think the idea of taking the final destination of High Speed 2 south of the river is one that we should be looking at, because we all know that there is a huge pressure on the north-south corridor for existing underground services, and this would certainly alleviate a lot of that pressure," he said.

In 2009 former Southwark Council leader Nick Stanton argued that the construction of the Cross River Tram – which would connect Waterloo and Euston – should be linked to central Government's plans for a new high-speed rail line between London, the Midlands and northern England.

Mr Livingstone has already pledged to resume work on the Cross River Tram scheme if he is reelected to City Hall in May 2012.

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