West London Orbital

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West London Orbital
Location London, UK
Proposer West London Business
Website West London Orbital Summary
Status Proposal
Type Light metro
Cost estimate £1.75 billion
West London Orbital railway proposal
Brent Cross London Underground
Staples Corner National Rail
Wembley Park London Underground
Wembley Stadium National Rail
Stonebridge Park London Underground  London Overground
Park Royal London Underground
Ealing Broadway London Underground National Rail Crossrail
Northfields London Underground
Brentford National Rail
Richmond London Underground London Overground National Rail
Kingston National Rail
Surbiton National Rail

The West London Orbital is a proposed tube line which was promoted in June 2008 by the West London Business group, a chamber of commerce group in London, UK.[1] The proposal involves the construction of a fully underground line across West and South West London.

The West London Orbital scheme remains at the proposal stage and is not approved or funded.


An illustration of the radial nature of the London Underground system

The scheme has been promoted in the context of the shape of London's public transport rail network, which consists mainly of radial lines running into central London. London politicians and other commentators have remarked on the lack of alternative orbital rail routes around the city,[2][3] and existing projects such as London Overground have sought to address these issues.

The stated aim of the West London Orbital proposal is to create an orbital public transport route around west London by connecting several radial railway lines.[4]


A number of routes have been examined for the new tube line, and the most promising one is thought by its promoters to be a north-south route running from Brent Cross to Surbiton, via Wembley Park, Ealing Broadway, Richmond and Kingston fully underground. The line would connect several London Underground and National Rail lines, including the forthcoming Crossrail 1 at Ealing Broadway.

The proposal envisages the West London Orbital operating totally underground, using short driverless light rail trains similar to the Docklands Light Railway, and updated "to the most modern standards" including platform screen doors similar to the Jubilee line or the Copenhagen metro in Denmark. The transit time from Brent Cross to Surbiton is quoted as 28 minutes, with a maximum train speed of 80 km/h.

The promoters cite a number of reasons why they believe an underground scheme would be cost-effective: tunnelling costs would be lower than ordinary underground projects as the tunnel diameter would be smaller than for a heavy rail scheme; there are no other rail tunnels to avoid (as in central London); and the subsoil strata are suitable for modern tunnel boring machines (TBMs).[4]

Alternative orbital schemes[edit]

West London Orbital is similar to other proposed schemes:


  1. ^ "Business chief will back west London Tube line". Rail News. 1 July 2008. Retrieved 7 January 2010. 
  2. ^ Johnson, Boris (2008). "Getting Londoners Moving (Mayoral election manifesto)" (PDF). The Guardian. Retrieved 7 January 2010. 
  3. ^ Atkins, Steve (4 July 2007). "It's time more thought was given to improving orbital public transport links within cities" (PDF). Local Transport Today (reproduced by WestTrans group). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 7 January 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "West London Orbital 2008 Update – a summary" (PDF). West London Business group. April 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 7 January 2010. 
  5. ^ FastBus rapid transit scheme proposed Archived August 9, 2012 at the Wayback Machine