Crossrail go-ahead secured

Work on the largest civil engineering project in Europe can begin following completion of the Parliamentary approval process for Crossrail.

Work on the largest civil engineering project in Europe can begin following completion of the Parliamentary approval process for Crossrail.

Crossrail will be the largest addition to the transport network in London and south east England for more than 50 years. Its supporters say that as well as bringing more capacity and faster journeys for passengers, it will deliver a £20bn boost to the wider UK economy.

The Crossrail Bill has now received Royal Assent, which means that the project is on track to be operational for passengers in 2017, following the Prime Minister's announcement last October that a £16bn funding package had been secured.

The line will run from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west through tunnels under central London - with new stations at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Isle of Dogs (Canary Wharf) - then out to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. In total, it will add 10 per cent to London's overall public transport capacity.

The Crossrail Act grants powers to acquire land and for Crossrail to be built and maintained. Enabling works will take place next year, with main construction works set to begin in 2010. Up to 14,000 people will be employed in the construction.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: "I am absolutely thrilled that work can now begin on one of the largest projects ever seen in the capital, a project that is vital to the future prosperity of our city. Crossrail will shorten journey times for Londoners and visitors to our city. But most importantly it can act as a catalyst for regeneration across the whole of our city, particularly in the east of the capital.

"Londoners living in the east will have far greater access to jobs in the centre of London and we expect to see the areas where they are living flourish from private sector investment in housing and development. All this and Crossrail even pays for itself. That is what I call a cracking deal for the capital."

Douglas Oakervee, executive chairman of Cross London Rail Links, said: "Royal Assent is the most significant milestone in the history of Crossrail. After years of planning and discussion, we are ready to move into the delivery phase."

When complete, there will be 24 trains per hour in each direction through Central London during peak times. The service will be delivered by a dedicated fleet of approximately 600 air-conditioned carriages.

Cross London Rail Links (CLRL) is the company that has developed Crossrail to date and will be responsible for its construction. The company is currently owned 50/50 by the Secretary of State for Transport and Transport for London, but will become wholly-owned by TfL.

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