CROSSRAIL 2, running between Tottenham and Wimbledon, needs to be started now if London’s transport system is not to become clogged up, according to an influential group of business people.

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A line linking south-west and north-east London has been on the drawing board since the 1970s, but has been given new urgency with the development of the High Speed 2 rail network, which will feature a revamped Euston station. Where once Crossrail 2 was to have ended in Hackney, the advent of HS2 means new plans look like taking in Euston on the way to Tottenham Hale.

Though improvements to other Tube lines are to increase capacity on the Underground, thousands of extra travellers drawn in by HS2 and by London’s population growth are set to “grind London to a halt”, says a report from London First.

To avoid that congestion and to dovetail with the opening of HS2, Crossrail 2 would need to be open by the latter 2020s, a timeline that requires work to start this year.

“The issue is whether we want to start planning for Crossrail 2 now or leave it until the early 2030s when the congestion is upon us and let London grind to a halt like we did with the Tube in the 1980s and 1990s,” Lord Adonis, an ex-Transport Minister now working for business group London First, told the Financial Times.

The Tottenham-Wimbledon line would cost an estimated £16 billion, say experts, but there is also a cheaper alternative on the table – a £10 billion link that would stretch from Seven Sisters to Clapham Junction.

Crossrail 1, joining east and west London, is set to open in 2018.