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Why Some Brits Are Fuming Over London's Crossrail

A massive new commuter rail project is stoking centuries-old resentment in Britain’s north-south divide.
Workers laying track for Crossrail 1, the east-west precursor to the newly approved north-south Crossrail 2 project.
Workers laying track for Crossrail 1, the east-west precursor to the newly approved north-south Crossrail 2 project.Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

On Monday morning, the U.K. government gave the green light to a massive expansion of London’s regional train network, approving a new multi-terminus line called Crossrail 2 that will reach into the city’s northern and southern exurbs.

For commuters in and around London, this is a cause for celebration: Estimated at $42 billion, this part-public, part-private project could relieve pressure on London’s overtaxed Tube and Overground systems when it enters service in 2033, improving journey times and train capacity across the region. But look farther north and the public response is striking: many people are downright disgusted.