Crossrail Given Go Ahead

Project on track to be operational for passengers by 2017

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Crossrail, the largest addition to the transport network in London and the South East for more than 50 years has completed its Parliamentary process, with the bill receiving 'Royal Assent'.

Following the Prime Minister's announcement last October that a £16bn funding package had been secured for the construction of Crossrail, Parliamentary approval of the Bill means that the project is on track to be operational for passengers in 2017.

The line will run from Maidenhead and Heathrow 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.

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.

Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly said, “This landmark project is of major significance to both London and the whole country. It will generate jobs and economic growth, help re-vitalise some of our most deprived areas and deliver major improvements for the travelling public.
“Crossrail has been talked about for decades, so I am delighted that now we have secured both the funding package and parliamentary approval work can finally begin to deliver this fantastic project.”

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 and a project that has the potential to improve the lives of many thousands of Londoners.

"Crossrail will shorten journey times for Londoners and visitors to our city whether they are heading for the bright lights of the west end or the citadels of commerce at Canary Wharf. 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 of a project that will benefit London, the south east region and the UK as a whole.

“Up to 14,000 people will be employed in the construction, and training schemes are planned to help equip Londoners along the route with the skills to secure these jobs. This will be a project for the whole community - a new world class affordable railway that London expects and deserves.”

London’s Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy said, "The importance of Crossrail to London’s economy and transport network cannot be overstated. Along with the vital upgrade of the Tube, it will provide much needed additional transport capacity to keep London moving.
"When complete, it will carry twice as many passengers as the Jubilee line, increasing London’s public transport network capacity by 10%. Our priority now is to ensure delivery of this project, on time and on budget."

The service will be delivered by a new and dedicated fleet of approximately 600 air conditioned carriages. They will be greener, lighter, quicker, able to carry a greater number of passengers and more reliable than existing designs. Stations along the route will be accessible.
Royal Assent is the most significant milestone in the history of Crossrail and the time when Cross London Rail Links Limited changes from a planning and promotional organisation to the Delivery Agent for this exciting new railway. As part of this transformation four new independent non-executive directors - Michael Cassidy CBE, Patrick Crawford, Sir Joe Dwyer and Heather Rabbatts, CBE - have been appointed.

The Executive Chairman Douglas Oakervee, who has successfully led the company over the past three years, will continue in that role until the appointment of a CEO and non-Executive Chairperson in accordance with best corporate governance practice. An open and competitive selection process will commence shortly to bring about this change.

July 24, 2008