Crossrail finally set to become a reality

02 October 2007

Crossrail - the planned new rail system to cross London and the biggest transport railway project in the UK since the Channel tunnel - looks set to go ahead after the City agreed to part-finance the scheme. The total cost will be some £16bn.


Keith Norman, ASLEF’s general secretary, says that the union is delighted that ‘at last London is to have a rail system that flows across and through the capital’ – but he added that, ‘It is regrettable that it has taken so long - and that the government needed to plead with the City for the funds to build a vital public transport link.


‘Businessmen and developers will benefit from Crossrail - so it seemed to us only right that they should pay for the benefit, rather than expect to make money from it.’


However, Keith says he sees the Crossrail project as ‘a long-term commitment to public transport, a lasting pledge to rail travel and an enduring benefit to everyone who travels to or through our capital city.’


The City of London Corporation finally approved the project at a meeting yesterday after private companies finally agreed to help finance the project. The government had sought around £300m from the City, arguing that City companies would benefit most from the scheme.


Although the Crossrail Bill still has to go through Parliament, the project’s major stumbling block - funding - appears to be resolved.


Crossrail was first envisaged almost 20 years ago and about £400m has already been spent on ‘development costs’. The proposed line will travel from Heathrow and Maidenhead in the west to Paddington, through the West End, the City of London and Canary Wharf and onto East London, with the route splitting into two branches at Whitechapel, with one branch traveling onto Shenfield in Essex and the second branch passing through the Royal Docks and onto Abbey Wood in Kent.

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