THE CORONAVIRUS pandemic has forced Transport for London to pause projects which are not already in progress or for which funding is not yet in place.
Chief Finance Officer Simon Kilonback told TfL’s board on 29 July that schemes such as the Northern Line extension, Bank station upgrade, Barking Riverside extension and new trains for the Piccadilly Line would continue as TfL has already committed to these projects and it would cost more to stop them. TfL has also committed to continue with projects it assesses to be ‘critical’ to maintain current levels of service, mostly renewals, although it has deferred some core renewals from the current financial year, among them less urgent track renewals and a slowdown of improvement work on the Central Line’s 1992 stock fleet.
A tranche of projects is contingent on additional funding, these including replacement of trams in Croydon, a replacement Bakerloo Line fleet, resignalling of the Piccadilly Line and an additional entrance at Stratford, where a redesign is being sought. Investments to increase frequencies on the East London line and on the DLR through the Royal Docks are both contingent on bids through the Housing Infrastructure Fund, which had already been announced by Government.
A further set of projects is on pause, including the Sutton tram proposal (a new link from the existing network at Merton), where there remains a funding shortfall, and a station upgrade at South Kensington, where design and development tenders exceeded the project funding. Major projects such as Crossrail 2, an extension of the Bakerloo Line from Elephant & Castle to Lewisham, an extension of the DLR to Thamesmead and the West London orbital scheme to reintroduce passenger services on the Dudding Hill line are all on pause until a longer-term funding agreement is in place.
Mr Kilonback also highlighted to the board how investment by TfL produced wider benefits outside London, with the most recent example of this being the establishment by Siemens of a rolling stock facility in Goole to build around half of the 94 new trains ordered for the Piccadilly Line. TfL originally envisaged an identical design being introduced on the Bakerloo, Central and Waterloo & City Lines as well, and Mr Kilonback stressed a decision is needed in the next couple of years on this investment, requiring long-term funding certainty.