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What opportunities will London’s new Crossrail bring?
- October 24, 2018

The Elizabeth Line, or the new Crossrail, is a suburban rail service which connects London and the South-East of England. Currently the biggest engineering project in Europe, this service plans to connect all of London’s main employment centers and reduce congestion on already overcrowded tube services.

The Crossrail will link 40 stations through 21 London boroughs with an estimated 200 million passengers travelling on the service each year. It will draw more people into the center of the capital through greater access, bringing around 120,000 more people every day and increasing London’s rail capacity by 10%.

So far the Crossrail has generated 55,000 full-time jobs throughout the UK, including more than 5,000 unemployed and local people who were given work opportunities as a result of the partnership between Crossrail contractors and Jobcentre Plus.

The Crossrail has proved a positive educational opportunity for the younger generation of engineers and construction workers. It has provided more than 1,000 apprenticeships to train younger generations in underground construction skills. So far 20,000 people have received training at the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy in Ilford, which has now been given to Transport for London. Through the Young Crossrail programme, which partnered with local schools in areas affected by the Crossrail, over 44,000 students were taught about the project.

According to plans for the second Crossrail, 200,000 new homes will be built along the length of its line and 100,000 more jobs will result. With London’s population expected to rise to 10.8 million by 2041, the Crossrail will be a necessary addition to public transport services in order to accommodate for the estimated six million extra journeys each day.

Crossrail project is now 93% complete and is entering the critical testing and commissioning stage. While the arrival of the Crossrail is only a few months away now, investors have already made their stake in areas set to see price rises because of improved transport links.

New developments in areas close to the Crossrail have led to an increase in work for civil contractors and trade contractors working for house builders. While infrastructure construction is set to grow by only 3.2% in 2018, in 2019 construction will rise by 13.0% due to large projects such as the Crossrail, generating an all-time output high of £23.6Bn by 2020.

Charlotte Slingsby and her startup company, Moya Power, have come up with the idea to generate electricity using the wind created by the new trains. She has already installed grids of lamellae-covered plastic sheets in underground tunnels which are designed to flutter when a draft is created, generating renewable energy. While the Moya Power strategy does not produce as much energy as traditional wind power plants, Slingsby has come up with a creative way of embracing new technology whilst also keeping sustainability at the forefront of the new Crossrail.

Investors have already been buying properties in areas where the initial plans for the Crossrail were set, and therefore house prices have risen in spite of the development not being in a state of completion yet. Now seems to be the time for investors to explore opportunities along Crossrail two’s planned route. Property prices in the South East, which will have direct transport links to London via the cross rail, are set to rocket. But if these places want to become destinations rather than just commuter points, infrastructure will need to be built to accommodate visitors. This provides an opportunity for investors to make plans for leisure and entertainment facilities in areas now reached by the Crossrail, since it usually takes more than improved transport links to motivate someone to move to a new area.

There are also specific areas which pose an opportunity for new developments. Regions including Southall, Wood Green, Camden Town, Lisson Grove and Canada Water all have room for further development activity and, therefore, potential for price rises.

In particular, there are numerous new housing developments coming to Southall. Southall recently agreed to convert a former margarine factory into 2,000 new homes under a £1Bn regeneration scheme. A 64 luxury apartment development has been unveiled in The West Works development, a mere five minute walk from Southall station and due to be available in 2021. In spite of plans for new housing developments, in contrast to its neighbor Ealing, Southall has a lot more scope for regeneration projects.

Wood Green is another London district which is facing huge development with proposals for hundreds of new homes, a medical centre, an office and shopping space approved by the Haringey Council. Wider plans for the transformation of Wood Green will include a £3.5Bn developing encompassing 4,000 new jobs, 6,400 new homes and a thriving town centre.

While renters seem to be in a good position, since they will soon have a lot more choice of housing which is in commutable distance from central London, it is inevitable that rent prices will increase. Good for investors and landlords, not so great for tenants.

Article submitted by Marc Trup, Founder and CEO of Arthur Online

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