Dear Department for Transport,
Crossrail is likely to become an integral and essential piece of London's transport infrastructure once completed, in much the same way as the RER serves Paris.
The new rail tunnels under central London are expected to be used well into the next century but how much thought has been given into the likely requirements of London's ever expanding population.
Almost all industrialised countries railway systems now run double-deck commuter trains, which is possible because of their larger loading gauges compared to the smaller standard British railway loading gauge.
At some point in the not too distant future our railway system will need to change over to the larger loading gauge simply to provide more passenger accommodation on existing railway land. It will not be cheap as existing tunnels and bridges and other infrastructure will need to be enlarged or rebuilt. However the process can be done over a long period line by line spreading the cost.
There are identified problems with the speed of loading and unloading of double-deck trains at busy stations however provided a new system such as Crossrail is built with this in mind these problems can be alleviated by increasing the number of doors in carriages etc.
Does the DfT agree that any new railway infrastructure should now be built with a larger than existing loading gauge in mind to reduce the future cost of eventually upgrading.
Will the new tunnels under London for Crossrail be capable of taking double-deck trains at some point in the future when signal deck trains can no longer cope with the increased passenger numbers?
No one would expect the country to switch to using double-deck trains in the immediate future given the state of the country's finances. But does the DfT agree that it will be far cheaper to build for the future upgrade now than try to alter tunnels once built?
Please find attached a letter of response to your email of 30th June 2010.
Crossrail Sponsorship Team
Department for Transport
0207 944 5314
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