"We are Brent Citizens Against the Planning Corruption of the London Borough of Barnet! We have been charged with a holy quest!"

Briefing on New Rail Services in Brent

This briefing gives details of:

  • the proposed "Crossrail-to-the-West-Coast-Main-Line" service through Wembley Central station
  • a new London Overground service across Brent to Hendon Thameslink station
  • possible light-rail / tram services.

When rail services are proposed, they have to be paid for. Brent has the Wembley Opportunity Area, but the main sources of possible subsidy come from:

  • Brent Cross Cricklewood (in Barnet) and
  • Old Oak Common (now controlled by the "Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation").


This is a £4.5-billion development, with a very long border with Brent, along the A5 Edgware Road.

There was a 1996 car-based scheme to expand the out-of-town shopping centre: HERE

John Prescott and the High Court both rejected this, and in 2002 Barnet instructed the shopping centre developers, including Hammerson, to devise a bigger "Brent Cross Cricklewood Masterplan".

This was just "top-down planning", and Barnet has never bothered with anything more democratic.

In 2005 Barnet produced "Supplementary Planning Guidance" for the London Plan, but it merely confirmed what was in the masterplan.

It predicted over 29,000 extra cars per day in the Brent Cross area!

Comments were submitted to reopen the Dudding Hill Freight Line that runs across Brent (from Acton, via Harlesden, Neasden and Gladstone Park). But these attempts were thrown out, because "the railway wasn't in Barnet".

A Brent Cross Cricklewood planning application was submitted in 2008.

Campaigners proposed a "North and West London Light Railway" with phase one at Brent Cross, instead of all the extra cars: Three pages in PDF file HERE (be patient for it to download)

LB of Brent also produced a map of possible light-rail across Brent and to Wembley, Green dashed lines HERE

Hammerson wrote to the transport campaigners that it would only "investigate light-rail" if they signed an undertaking not to oppose the planning application! This was refused.

Barnet passed the application through committee in November 2009, although only after a Barnet officer lied that Brent did not object to the plan. (A robust exchange of letters followed.)

Barnet announced there would be an "A5 Corridor Study" - of various transport studies across Barnet, Brent and Camden - to placate opposition. This seems to have been downgraded by Barnet, into a minor planning condition, by a year later when formal consent was given.

The Brent Cross plan was "refreshed" in 2014, dropping most of the Section 106 promises.

Note that it still includes a 300,000 tonne-per-year waste incinerator next to Dollis Hill, and a 5-storey building on the only green space in Cricklewood's town centre, next to B&Q.

Only the chief whip of Barnet Tories spoke at the 2014 meeting. He said Brent Cross shopping centre was looking "tired". Everything else was still in the same planning application, including Cricklewood Lane over a mile away.

Brent Cross continues as a car-based development, just as in 1996.

LB of Brent is objecting to the latest version of the "A5 Corridor Study".

LB of Barnet only models Brent's road junctions if they are "not quite at saturation level" (that is, below 90%). Above that, the extra congestion - at already clogged junctions - is apparently not Barnet's concern, even though the junctions will get Brent Cross traffic.


The High Speed Two and Crossrail station at Old Oak Common is a game-changer.

It is very near the route of the original light-rail proposal, but offers two new rail services across Brent - a branch of Crossrail to the West Coast Main Line (stopping at Wembley Central and Harrow & Wealdstone) and a new London Overground service on the Dudding Hill Line (to Brent Cross and Hendon or Mill Hill Broadway).

Transport for London plans are shown HERE and HERE

A "Harlesden Town Team" map of the area (take plenty of time to study it!) is shown HERE


There are various routes across Park Royal that this might take.

One possibility (the cheapest) is to follow the Dudding Hill Line as far as Harlesden, probably with extra parallel tracks, and then turn towards Wembley.

Other possibilities allow an extra Crossrail station within Park Royal, maybe near Central Middlesex Hospital.

There could be as many as eight Crossrail trains an hour stopping at Wembley Central,

In fact any smaller number and possibly NO trains would stop. This is because the platforms there are very narrow, and it is not feasible for staff to open the platform each time a fast through-train has gone by.

For safety, either all stop or none stop.

This plan has been downgraded recently, because Euston station will now be redeveloped in three phases, and there is less need to divert trains a different way. However, the benefits of Crossrail to Brent are clear - and need lobbying!


Of course, the North London Line already runs across Brent, but the new service would be further out, and act as a "North Circular Road bypass".

Trains might run from Hounslow, on another new service.

They would stop at Old Oak Common at a new station, to interchange with the North London Line, HS2 and Crossrail, then use the Dudding Hill Line towards Hendon Thameslink station.

This is likely to be a four-trains-per-hour service.

The studies so far show a good economic case for this new Brent route. The line would need to be electrified, and freight trains would also benefit. Again, lobbying will help!


To be realistic, the above schemes - Crossrail and London Overground - are the main targets to aim for.

Nevertheless, car-based Brent Cross (and Colindale) still needs a tram system, and a separate system has been suggested at Old Oak Common, towards Kensal Canalside and Westbourne Park.

There is also the possibility of personal rapid transit pods, as in use at Heathrow Airport, shown HERE

However, no-one has introduced such a system across a wide area, and it might cost general users too much - perhaps like Boris's ill-fated dangleway across the Thames in east London.

So then:
Lobby for Brent's new Crossrail and London Overground services.
Despise the Brent Cross congestion (by opposing LB of Barnet's scheme).
Hope for better planning at Old Oak Common.

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