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The Regeneration Railway for the East End

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Tom Edwards Tom Edwards | 10:32 UK time, Wednesday, 21 April 2010

There is still no date for the opening of the East London Line.

Safety checks, I'm told, although there is a political row about electioneering going on in the background.

East London Line train in depot

And when it comes to transport projects the politics are never far away.

However when (if) it opens - maybe this week - there's no doubt the opening of what was once the old east london line will change how millions of commuters get around. Steve's already touched on it and it will improve transport links in areas that have previously been left behind.

Some have called it the "Regeneration Railway" or "the new Thameslink" and it will make north-south travel in the east far, far easier.

This upgrade was also part of London 2012's bid for the Olympics.

For example from Hackney you'll be able to get on a train, change to the Jubilee Line at Canada Water and get to Canary Wharf. From June, in Sydenham in the south, you'll be able to catch a train direct to Shoreditch High Street and walk to the City.

In turn that will also help ease congestion at places like London Bridge but it will also link relatively deprived areas with areas with jobs.

The old East London Line was closed in 2007. The project got started under the former mayor Ken Livingstone and with the present Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson both will claim credit especially with an election looming.

If you've seen Shoreditch High Street station though, much of the credit should go to the engineers who've constructed a brand new line right through the heart of the East End. 22 bridges have been replaced.

Lowering of Shoreditch High Street Bridge for East London line

Transport for London are keen that it's understood to be part of London Overground rather than the Underground - more like an East London Railway. Eventually it will go down to Crystal Palace and out to Clapham Junction becoming part of an outer london orbital railway.

It has not been without controversy.

The closure of the old line for three years angered many local businesses and residents. But it is unlikely there are many moaning now especially in Hackney where they have four new stations. Residents in some areas are still angry they didn't even get a station.

Where's the downside now? Is there one?

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