TfL plans to swap Victoria service for Phase 2 of East London Line

Yesterday, Transport for London released this media briefing:

TfL examines Thameslink East London Line 2 plan

Phase two of the East London Line extension could be built and financed as part of the Thameslink Programme, according to minutes from a recent Transport for London board meeting.

Senior figures from the Department of Transport and TfL are discussing the possibility of funding ELL phase two as enabling works for the Thameslink scheme in order to mitigate against service difficulties posed by the remodelling of London Bridge station. The situation has arisen following the disclosure by Network Rail that capacity for the current half-hourly stopping service between London Bridge and London Victoria will no longer be available once London Bridge station has been remodelled to provide additional through platforms for Thameslink services. Network Rail has proposed that the current trains could be replaced by a half-hourly Victoria to Bellingham service but this would mean stations between Wandsworth Road and Peckham Rye would lose their rail connection to the City while Queen's Road Peckham and South Bermondsey stations would see a reduction of two trains an hour, directly conflicting with the Mayor of London's aspiration to increase metro service frequencies.

However, TfL argues that bringing forward ELL phase two would provide a better solution. This would see the current London Bridge to Victoria service replaced by four trains an hour running from Clapham Junction and the core ELL route with its connection to the City and Docklands, via stations between Wandsworth Town and Queen's Road Peckham. It also provides an opportunity for TfL to secure the cash it needs for the currently unfunded ELL phase two project. Construction powers have already been secured under the ELL phase one scheme, which is scheduled for completion in June 2010. London Bridge station is due to be rebuilt with additional through platforms by 2015.

So, a direct swap - Victoria service for East London Line 2, which will run from Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction, serving the likes of Peckham Rye and Denmark Hill, but not Victoria itself.

Our understanding of this issue is that the extension would cost only £75 million, which is a relative pittance in rail infrastructure terms and it would form the final part of the London Overground loop around London, so it's almost certain to go ahead, one way or another.

2015 is a long way away, but how do you feel about this? If anyone from Forest Hill is reading this - what's your reaction?