The Central line to Harlow? It could happen…
The Northern line is extending to Battersea, the Piccadilly line is getting fancy new trains, the Bakerloo line could be off to Lewisham, and the Elizabeth line is inching ever closer to completion. But what of the Central line, London’s love-to-hate-it Tube route? Aside from a vague promise of air conditioning in 2030, there’s been little to report on the red line for a while, but that’s changed with a new proposal from the good folks at Harlow Council, who’d like the Central line to extend all the way to their town, please and thank you.
Tube aficionados will know that the Central line’s current eastern terminus is Epping, where one can wander amongst the boughs of Epping Forest on a neat little day trip. Though the line once extended further to stops at Blake Hall (once the least-used station on the network, with six passengers a day) and Ongar (now part of the lovely Epping-Ongar steam train route), both stations were abandoned in the 80s and 90s. Though Harlow is connected to London via National Rail services, the council believes that the town’s proximity to Epping station provides an opportunity for extending the Central line, and adding another route into the city.
There are a lot of hurdles to clear before this becomes a reality, mind you; TfL has responsibility for the Tube and would need to make the decision to commit to the project, whilst the council themselves haven’t yet committed to the plan, which would then need public consultation with local residents. Still, they believe that adding Harlow to the Tube map could help regenerate the town, in conjunction with rejuvenating the town centre and building more homes in the popular commuter town. Hey, if Reading has already made it onto the Tube map, surely we can find space for Harlow?
Meanwhile, here’s what the Tube map could look like by 2040.
Also published on Medium.