Transport for London (TfL) has kicked off a public consultation seeking views on the proposed extension of the Bakerloo line, planned to run from Elephant & Castle to Lewisham via Old Kent Road and New Cross Gate.

TfL is holding 11 public exhibitions to support the public consultation, which starts today and will run until 22 December this year.

As part of the consultation, TfL is looking for feedback on a number of issues, including tunnel route, the location of worksites, extending the line beyond Lewisham, as well as choosing the names for two new stations along Old Kent Road.

There are also plans to merge the two existing tube entrances of Elephant & Castle into one that would be built as part of another planned upgrade of the Northern line ticket hall. It would also be  delivered as part of a proposed new shopping centre development, which would also simplify the interchange with the Thameslink rail station.

TfL’s tunnel route proposals, which include a shorter, quicker route between Lambeth North and Elephant & Castle, have been included in this consultation for the first time.

TfL also said it is considering a second phase of the extension beyond Lewisham to Hayes and Beckenham Junction, involving a conversion of a National Rail line.

In addition, TfL is seeking name suggestions for two potential new Bakerloo line stations on the Old Kent Road.

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If the central government approves plans for the extension and the funding needed is secured, construction could begin in 2023.

The completion of the line is envisaged by 2030 at the earliest.

Today’s consultation comes after previous public consultations in 2014, which focused on analysing route options, and in 2017, where the potential station and shaft locations were highlighted.

In a statement, Tfl claimed that the extension is “vital to improving public transport capacity for south-east London by providing a high frequency Tube service directly into central London”.

Proposed with the aim to support the needs of the capital’s growing population, it includes plans to develop 27,500 new homes and boost the local economy by creating employment opportunities with more than 6,000 new jobs. With the aim to increase tube capacity and reduce congestion on the roads, the completion of the project will also lead to reduced air pollution and carbon emissions.

Supporting expansion, deputy mayor for transport Heidi Alexander welcomed TfL’s consultation and urged local residents to participate in it by voicing their views.

She added that the project will “make a huge difference to the lives of thousands of south Londoners by creating a new direct route into central London.”

Sharing the same sentiment, TfL’s director of city planning Alex Williams said: “This consultation will help us further shape our plans for the Bakerloo line extension which will play a vital part in supporting London’s population growth by providing capacity for at least 60,000 extra journeys in both the morning and evening peak periods.

“We have taken on board the views of thousands of people in the previous two consultations. This latest consultation is a further opportunity for people to have their say on a scheme which would unlock growth and radically improve customer journeys in south east London.”

Cabinet member for growth, development and planning at Southwark Council Johnson Situ said that this consultation is “an opportunity for people to see the proposals in detail and have their say”.

He added: “The extension of the Bakerloo line in Southwark will help deliver our vision for the Old Kent Road, including hundreds of affordable new homes, jobs and facilities for local people.”

The mayor of Lewisham Damien Egan further deemed the Bakerloo line “transformational”.

“We are delighted that TfL is considering the extension to Hayes in its consultation, which would unlock the vast potential of the south of the borough.”

Welcoming the economic benefits of the proposed extension, the chief executive of London First Jasmine Whitbread said: “If London is to maintain its position as the best place in the world to do business, it is critical that we tackle our challenges, particularly housing supply and bolstering our transport infrastructure.

“The extension of the Bakerloo line is essential to southeast London’s future growth and quality of life, adding capacity and unlocking thousands of new homes. Infrastructure projects like the Bakerloo line extension, Crossrail 2 and Piccadilly line upgrades are essential to keeping London globally competitive and better connected.”

Finally, Southwark and Lewisham councils have been showing support for the extension through a campaign called ‘Back the Bakerloo’.