Fears over new East London train service

PUBLISHED: 18:23 26 May 2010 | UPDATED: 10:27 12 August 2010

THE new East London line could hinder future development of the borough, a councillor has warned.

THE new East London line could hinder future development of the borough, a councillor has warned.

The service, which connects Crystal Palace, Penge West and Anerley with Dalston Junction, was fully opened last Sunday.

Many residents are pleased about the development since Boris Johnson announced he was axing the £170 million Crystal Palace link in Croydon's tram network in November 2008.

Crystal Palace Liberal Democrat councillor John Canvin has welcomed the new service but said: "It's an improvement since we didn't get the tram, but I would say that there's a danger that it takes people away from Crystal Palace as well as bring them to us.

"I really hope people still do their shopping here and use the services in the area and that we can really develop the Crystal Palace triangle and entice people to come here.

"It's a very good service with frequent trains. But it would have been ideal if we'd had the tram because that was supposed to go all the way through to Bromley North. It would have taken a lot of cars off the road which would have eased congestion."

Asked if people were still angry about the tram project being scrapped, he said: "People have given up all hope of it being built now.

"It will never happen. They said it would have paid for itself in four years but they weren't prepared to put up the initial money."

The line has a fast, high frequency service which will start running at the earliest at 5.40am and the last trains will be at 11.40pm Monday to Saturday. On Sundays, trains will run from approximately 6.45am until 11.20pm.

It has been completed ahead of schedule, in two-and-a-half years and is the biggest London transport project since the opening of the Jubilee Line extension in 1999.

Some 20 new trains will make up the fleet with trains every 12 minutes between Dalston Junction and Crystal Palace, Penge West and Anerley.

A spokesperson for Transport for London said: "We are proud to deliver this large project on time. The line is also a key component of the transport plans for the 2012 Games, and the line will leave an important transport and regeneration legacy to east and south London."

The line will be extended to the north, connecting to the existing London Overground network at Highbury & Islington, in spring 2011.

It is predicted that 33m people will use the line in 2011 and demand is forecast to increase to 40m in 2016.

Penge Partners had planned an event for Sunday to celebrate the opening of the line but it had to be cancelled on Friday.

A spokesperson said the event may take place later in the summer.

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