Posts Tagged ‘crossrail’

London — By Andrea Kirkby on September 9, 2009 at 5:11 am
Filed under: crossrail, London Underground, public transport, railways

Good news for Crossrail!

Good news for Crossrail, the £16bn scheme that will link East and West London via a fast deep-level underground rail service.

It has just got a £1 bn loan from the European Investment Bank to help finance initial construction works.

Crossrail, which is scheduled to be completed by 2017, will change life forever for air passengers using Heathrow Airport. Instead of stepping on to the crowded tube, or taking a train to Paddington – still 45 minutes from the City – they’ll be able to go straight under the centre of London. Heathrow to Canary Wharf in three-quarters of an hour.

It would be easy to look at the £16bn cost of the scheme as one big bonus day for bankers in Canary Wharf. In fact the scheme will also benefit the huge residential areas of East London and the projected Thames Gateway – and should help revitalise less well off areas.

Crossrail is the largest construction project in Europe at the moment. It’s certainly an ambitious one, and London mayor Boris Johnson described it as ‘an unstoppable force’.

But there are a few clouds on the horizon. Crossrail has already been delayed once by a cost-saving government – and if the Conservative party gets into power at the next election, it will be looking for high profile cost savings to cut public spending. Despite Conservative mayor Johnson’s support, there has been some speculation that Crossrail might be one of the sacred cows that gets taken to the abbatoir… or just quietly rescheduled again.

Let’s hope not. London has suffered in the past from under-investment in public transport. It would be a pity if the future looked the same way.

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