My predecessor advised the House on
Mott Parsons Gibb (MPG), the Department's technical advisers for the channel tunnel rail link (CTRL) project, subsequently undertook a thorough review of the case for the phase 2 London underground works, in consultation with key stakeholders who might be affected by a change from the original plans for implementing these works. I have placed copies of MPG's final report to Ministers in the House Library. Copies are also available on the Department's website.
The report examined a range of options for the works, and their practical, operational, and financial implications. The main conclusions were as follows:
significant growth in demand is expected at King's Cross interchange, arising not only from general traffic growth, but also from passengers using the CTRL once it is open to traffic, and demand from major redevelopment schemes in the King's Cross area; without the phase 2 LUL works (the northern ticket hall and associated tunnels to the deep tube lines), passenger demand at the King's Cross interchange would exceed safe operational levels by about 2011, resulting in the need for temporary closures at peak times; there are close physical and programme inter-relationships between LUL's proposed works, Network Rail's plans for a new western concourse and the King's Cross central development, with significant benefits from delivery of them together in an integrated way; of the options for the LUL Phase 2 works, the cheapest would be outright cancellation, but this would have severe implications for the future ability of the interchange to cope with demand; delivery of the Phase 2 works by 2011 would avoid this problem: were a decision taken to proceed, it would be most cost-effective to do so with the minimum delay.
On this basis, the Government have concluded that the phase 2 works, including the northern ticket hall, should proceed without further delay, and that these should be co-ordinated with development of plans for the NR western concourse in order to ensure an integrated overall design and programme which should deliver the combined scheme as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. The Department is now taking this forward with London Underground, Network Rail and other key stakeholders.