Monorail option still under consideration for Havering

A monorail link is still being considered as an option to improve local public transport links in north east London, a council leader has suggested.

Ray Morgon, leader of Havering Council, said “almost £200,000” has been spent looking at improving north-south transport links in the borough.

The feasibility study outlines whether this could be a tramway, light rail, bus, or “monorail”.

Improving north-south transport links in Havering has long been discussed, as the borough is mainly served by train lines running east to west between Essex and central London.

Earlier this year, the council published its Vision for Infrastructure, a short document calling for support with developing a north-south link alongside other transport improvements such as additional bus services, improved commuter railway lines and a new Thames Clipper jetty in Rainham.

It includes a map showing a light rail or tram link running between Harold Hill and Collier Row in the north of the borough, to Rainham and Beam Park in the south, via Romford and Emerson Park.

It also suggests bus improvements, a new stop on the St Pancras-Kent high-speed train line and DLR extension to Beam Park via Thamesmead.

A spokesperson for TfL told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) it welcomed the council’s infrastructure plan.

However, they added: “Many of these schemes would require significant investment and many years of design and planning to deliver, but we are happy to discuss these with the borough in more detail so that together we can ensure that taking public transport remains the most attractive option to travel around London.”

A high-level study into the options, funded by Transport for London, was commissioned when the Conservatives ran Havering in 2018.

At the time, a Havering Council “London’s Gateway to the East” brochure outlined the council’s optimism about building on growth from the Elizabeth Line and large housebuilding schemes in Beam Park and Rainham.

The following year, chief executive Andrew Blake-Herbert made headlines when he said the council was “working on” what a tram or monorail link would look like.

However, for reasons that are unclear the feasibility study has never been published.

A report on options for a north-south link is finally due to go before cabinet “in the new year” Cllr Morgon told councillors last week.

He added: “High-level work carried out to date includes looking at potential route options, and potential costs and was funded entirely by Transport for London through the Local Implementation Plan.

“Whilst the council is in a challenging environment at present, improving north-south connectivity is a key priority of the administration and a key component of the council’s Infrastructure Vision.

“The council is still in the early stage of looking at the potential for a new public transport link for Romford, Rainham and beyond, but it has not yet decided whether the link would be a tramway, light rail, monorail, bus or some other method of transport.

“The council is preparing a paper that will include costs and whether to progress any of the work to the next stages of feasibility.”

He agreed with Conservative leader Keith Prince that anything the council does has to be “affordable”.

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Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter