This Consultation – the options we are considering now
The updated and optimised short-listed transport options to be considered now are:
  • Option 1 - Elizabeth line extension from Abbey Wood to Northfleet/Ebbsfleet & Gravesend (sharing existing tracks with National Rail services)
  • Option 2 - Elizabeth line extension from Abbey Wood to Dartford (using new dedicated tracks built adjacent to the existing North Kent Line), with increased National Rail service frequency between Dartford and Northfleet
  • Option 3 – National Rail service frequency improvements (between Abbey Wood and Northfleet), combined with a new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service running between Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet, linking with the stations along the North Kent Line.
Option 1 - Elizabeth line extension from Abbey Wood to Northfleet/Ebbsfleet & Gravesend (sharing existing tracks with National Rail services)



Option 1 proposes that 8 of the 12 Elizabeth line trains per hour that will terminate at Abbey Wood are extended eastwards, sharing the existing North Kent line tracks with Southeastern and Thameslink services.

Of the 8 trains per hour, 4 would terminate at Northfleet, with the remaining 4 continuing on to Gravesend.

The Elizabeth line trains would stop at all the stations on the North Kent line between Abbey Wood and Gravesend.

This option would require some changes to the existing Southeastern service to reduce operational conflicts with the additional Elizabeth line services running on the North Kent line tracks.

The 2 trains per hour “circular” services, currently operating between the Crayford and Barnehurst lines and the Abbey Wood line, would instead be diverted to terminate at Dartford. The diversion of these services will require passengers wishing to travel between Crayford / Barnehurst and Abbey Wood to use rail services via Dartford or to use bus services.

This option would require the construction of some sections of additional track and junction works within the existing rail Corridor, significant works at Abbey Wood, Slade Green and Dartford stations and require additional land to accommodate additional train stabling facilities.


Option 2 - Elizabeth line extension from Abbey Wood to Dartford (using new dedicated tracks built adjacent to the existing North Kent Line), with increased National Rail service frequency between Dartford and Northfleet



Option 2 proposes that all 12 Elizabeth line trains per hour that will terminate at Abbey Wood are extended eastwards to Dartford on a new segregated railway, which would run adjacent to the existing North Kent line tracks.

The Elizabeth line trains are proposed to stop at all the stations on the North Kent line between Abbey Wood and Dartford.

4 of the Southeastern services per hour, which currently terminate at Dartford, are proposed to continue on to Northfleet. This would increase the Southeastern service frequency operating between stations at Northfleet and Dartford to 8 trains an hour, with a new interchange with the Elizabeth line provided at Dartford.

This option would require significant construction works to build a new two track rail alignment alongside the existing North Kent line, requiring potential compulsory purchase of land and property beyond the existing rail corridor in some areas and significant works at Abbey Wood, Slade Green and Dartford stations, as well as the provision of new train stabling facilities.


Option 3 - National Rail service frequency improvements (between Abbey Wood and Northfleet), combined with a new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service running between Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet, linking with the stations along the North Kent Line



Option 3 is a lower cost package of transport connectivity improvements that combines enhancement to existing National Rail services between Abbey and Northfleet and the introduction of new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) services between Abbey Wood and Ebbsfleet. 

The National Rail element of the option proposes that 4 Southeastern trains per hour operating between London and Dartford via Abbey Wood would be extended from Dartford to Northfleet. This would increase the number of Southeastern trains to/from London serving stations between Northfleet and Dartford for connection to Elizabeth line at Abbey Wood from 4 to 8 trains per hour.

To accommodate this the 2 trains per hour “circular” services currently operating between the Barnehurst line and the Abbey Wood line would be diverted to Dartford and the 2 train per hour “circular” services operating between the Crayford and Abbey Wood lines would be diverted to operate a new “circular” service between the Crayford and Barnehurst lines.

It is also proposed that the two Thameslink services per hour that operate between Abbey Wood and Ebbsfleet would also stop at Belvedere and Erith (where currently they do not).

To deliver these service enhancements some new infrastructure works would be required at Northfleet station to accommodate and turnback the additional services on the route east of Dartford. 

The BRT element for Option 3 is to introduce two new service routes, each operating at 6 buses per hour in each direction, supported by a combination of bus priority measures on existing highway and sections on new segregated busway, accompanied by new high-quality zero emission vehicles and passenger facilities (stops, information etc.).

One service route would operate between Abbey Wood and Ebbsfleet International station via Slade Green, Dartford and Bluewater. The other service would operate on a more northerly route between Slade Green and Ebbsfleet via Greenhithe and Northfleet. These new BRT services would be anticipated to make use of existing Fastrack infrastructure where appropriate between Dartford and Ebbsfleet and be in addition to the Fastrack network already in place. The introduction of the services between Abbey Wood and Dartford could be accompanied by some complementary bus service changes on other existing routes.

Summary of Benefits & Impacts

Each option has advantages and disadvantages in terms of how they meet the objectives for the Corridor. A summary of the benefits and impacts of each option is provide in the following two tables with different impacts categorised as Low, Moderate, High or Very High. As mentioned previously, a further information pack containing technical information is provided here.

Option Reference Situation (2031) Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
Description 12 tph Elizabeth line service to/from Abbey Wood introduced.

New pedestrian interchange link provided between Northfleet and Ebbsfleet International stations. Enhancements to the Fastrack service network operating between Dartford, Ebbsfleet and Gravesend.
Extend 8 tph Elizabeth line services from Abbey Wood to Northfleet, 4 tph of which continue to Gravesend. 

Elizabeth line services share tracks with National Rail services.  2tph Southeastern circular services running between Sidcup and Bexleyheath branches and Charlton branch diverted to Dartford. 
Extend 12 tph Elizabeth line services from Abbey Wood to Dartford on a segregated alignment combined with enhancing the National Rail service to/from London by 4 tph between Northfleet and Dartford. Lower cost option of increasing Southeastern service levels by 4 tph between Northfleet and Abbey Wood by diverting current circular services & the introduction of two new bus rapid transit (BRT) service routes of 6 bph between Abbey Wood/Slade Green and Ebbsfleet. 
Benefit criteria Performance relative to the current situation (2021)
Performance relative to the Reference Situation (2031)
Transport connectivity improvement from the study area to central activity zones in London and to UK gateways Moderate Very high Very high Low
Transport connectivity improvement within the study area Low Very high Very high Low-Moderate
Potential to shift travel from car to public transport within the study area to reduce congestion, CO2 and NOx emissions Low High High Moderate
Potential to accelerate housing delivery and unlock additional housing growth Low Very high Very high Low
Additional jobs delivered within the study area Low High High Low-Moderate
Potential to create and support an enhanced sense of place Low High High Low

Delivery and impact profile of options

Option Reference Situation (2031) Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
Description 12 tph Elizabeth line service to/from Abbey Wood introduced.

New pedestrian interchange link provided between Northfleet and Ebbsfleet International stations. Enhancements to the Fastrack service network operating between Dartford, Ebbsfleet and Gravesend.
Extend 8 tph Elizabeth line services from Abbey Wood to Northfleet, 4 tph of which continue to Gravesend. 

Elizabeth line services share tracks with National Rail services.  2tph Southeastern circular services running between Sidcup and Bexleyheath branches and Charlton branch diverted to Dartford. 
Extend 12 tph Elizabeth line services from Abbey Wood to Dartford on a segregated alignment combined with enhancing the National Rail service to/from London by 4 tph between Northfleet and Dartford. Lower cost option of increasing Southeastern service levels by 4 tph between Northfleet and Abbey Wood by diverting current circular services & the introduction of two new bus rapid transit (BRT) service routes of 6 bph between Abbey Wood/Slade Green and Ebbsfleet. 
Deliverability criteria Performance relative to the current situation (2021)
Performance relative to the Reference Situation (2031)
Land and property take required Low Moderate High Low
Level of engineering feasibility challenge Low High Very high Moderate
Level of operational feasibility challenge Low Very high High Moderate
Likely level of disruption during implementation  Low High Very high Low
Potential to generate adverse environmental impacts Low Moderate Moderate Low
Cost to deliver and operate Low High Very high Low
Potential need for a local funding contribution N/A Yes Yes No
Timeframe within which delivery and operation could be achieved  Within 2-3 years Within 10-15 years Within 10-15 years Within 3-6 years



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