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HomeNewsBrent Council leader seeks funds for urgent Bakerloo Line works

Brent Council leader seeks funds for urgent Bakerloo Line works

The leader of a North London council called for more funds to complete urgent works to the Bakerloo Line ahead of the Chancellor’s Spring Budget.

Brent Council leader, Cllr Muhammed Butt, said the line was ‘at risk of failure’ unless more money was found for upgrades and an extension, however, no new funding was announced.

A number of London councils, alongside Transport for London (TfL), have called for the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt MP, to commit additional money to modernise and extend the line, which connects Brent to landmarks like West End and the South Bank.

The upgrade would involve new trains and signalling, with the extension eventually ending at Hayes – adding 14 new stations in the process. Cllr Butt wrote to Mr Hunt ahead of the budget announcement to make the case for the changes providing an ‘economic boost’ to the country.

In the letter, Cllr Butt warns the ‘oldest passenger trains in the UK’ need to be replaced and the line extended, in what he described as a ‘crucial project for London’s future’.. He wrote: “They’re long past life- expectancy, with delays and maintenance costs rising fast. Without action, the line is at risk of failure.

London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, called the budget ‘deeply disappointing’ as no new funding was announced. In a statement released by his office, he wrote: “[…] there was no new money for transport infrastructure in the capital, that would have direct knock-on benefits to supply chains across the country and helped kick start economic growth.”

He added: “Today’s budget demonstrates that ministers don’t understand the pressures Londoners are under, and they continue to starve London of the investment we need that would bring benefits to the whole country.”

TfL has estimated that the works would cost between £5bn and £8bn, creating capacity for an additional 150,000 journeys a day, according to a report, published by Crossrail in 2020, called Moving London Forward. Cllr Butt claims TfL ‘desperately needs’ the money to modernise and extend the ‘ageing line’, which serves ten stations across Brent.

He wrote: “The economic and social benefits are undeniable. The creative and cultural industries are among London’s fastest growing sectors […] many of these industries are concentrated in central and north-west London – including Park Royal at Willesden Junction and Soho via Oxford Circus and Charing Cross.”

He added: “On our journey to net zero, it’s also crucial for us to look at the environmental benefits here. The existing Bakerloo Line rolling stock is the oldest operational electric multiple units (EMUs) in the UK. They’re much less energy efficient and much heavier than modern rolling stock. As well as improving customer experience, it’s estimated that an upgrade will reduce energy consumption by 20 per cent.”.

TfL claims upgrading and extending the Bakerloo Line would have a ‘transformational impact’ and could provide better transport for more than 20,000 homes, as well as creating nearly 10,000 jobs and adding £1.5bn to the national economy.

The Government announced a one-year capital funding deal for TfL in December, which provided £250m. However, this provides only half the £500m – £600m it requires annually from the government to meet its capital needs, according to TfL.

A statement from TfL said: “[…] the Bakerloo Line Upgrade and Extension cannot happen without support from government. TfL has succeeded in boosting passenger numbers and restoring finances after the devastating impact of the pandemic.”

It added: “It is on course to be self-sufficient in day-to-day spending by the end of March. However, as with all major transport networks, TfL will need ongoing support with capital funding to maintain the network and invest in future growth.”

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