'Extending Central Line to Uxbridge will cut traffic'

HILLINGDON Council is to lobby TfL to have the Central underground line extended from West Ruislip to Uxbridge.

HILLINGDON Council is to lobby TfL to have the Central underground line extended from West Ruislip to Uxbridge.

The reasoning behind the plans, is that having the line will cut traffic on the A40 and the Uxbridge Road, both serving 'a key transport corridor' to Ealing.

Uxbridge is currently served by two underground lines, the Metropolitan and Piccadilly lines, and it would be logistically simple to extend the Central line track to link from its terminal in West Ruislip into Ickenham station.

For the plan to become possible, Hillingdon Council must convince TfL there is a business case, and fear it could take 10 years to come to fruition.

Councillor Douglas Mills, cabinet member for improvements, partnerships and community safety (Con), said: "We are realistic, it is not going to be done overnight, but we have already held a couple of meetings with TfL about it. We feel that compared to other metropolitan town centres in London, such as Kingston, Uxbridge could be better served by the tube. TfL feel at the moment the business case is weak, and it is up to us to build it up.

"As the landscape of Uxbridge changes, as homes on RAF Uxbridge are built, this will change, and the need will grow. There is a strong argument that it will reduce traffic on the Uxbridge Road and the A40. This is if you look at where the Central line serves, places in Ealing, and reducing traffic is a long term objective of ours."

The Central Line serves West Ruislip, Ruislip Gardens, South Ruislip, Northolt, Greenford, Perivale, Hanger Lane, Ealing Broadway, North Acton, and West Acton, White City, and Shepherds Bush, before extending into central and east London.

"In terms of land, there is no HS2 like problem of it going through back gardens or houses, but it is a bit more complicated than simply putting in a set of new points at West Ruislip."

TfL has told the council the whole project will only become viable, once upgrades to the signalling system on the Metropolitan Line is complete, which the Gazette has previously revealed could take up to 2017.

Councillor Mills added: "The current Central Line trains will not work on the existing track and with the signalling system the Met line uses, so that will have to be finished first. But we feel within 10 years we can make it happen. First a more pressing issue is the re-introduction of a north to south borough bus route, which TfL pulled the plug on last year."

The project was stopped mid-consultation last year because of financial pressures, but the council feel now is the right time to reignite the project, for a service the east-west centred transport in Hillingdon vitally needs.

MP John Randall, Uxbridge and South Ruislip representative (Con), said: "This has been raised before, and I support the idea, I think it would be of fantastic benefit to Uxbridge, and could bring more employment to the town."

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